Happy New Year everyone! I have to say, it was a little hard to say good-bye to 2009. It’s been a good year; Adrianna and I started this blog, which is awesome. I got a Kitchen Aid standing mixer, which is super awesome, and Chase and I are engaged, which…well, it goes without saying how amazing that is. But nonetheless, I’m ready for 2010. I only hope that it realized how big the shoes are that it has to fill after these last 12 months.
Although I’m hoping for 2010 to be a big, exciting year, right now I just need a break. I’ve spent two weeks traveling, eating, hanging out with friends, eating, showing off my ring on my unfortunately un-manicured hand, eating, re-packing my suitcase 10 times, and… eating. At the end of it all, I’m tired and don’t think I can handle too much more, except that I’m actually still hungry. I could definitely do some more eating.
This recipe is my contribution to the list of “go-tos” slowly being accumulated on our site. It’s a simple pasta sauce made from tomatoes and eggplant that literally couldn’t be easier to make. You just roast some vegetables in the oven, then throw all the ingredients in the food processor and let it do all the work for you. I will admit that it isn’t the most attractive meal to eat, but don’t let that keep you from giving it a try. Make 2010 a little easier on yourself and add this to your recipe list, trust me.
Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
This recipe in it’s entirety is absolutely delicious, but I’ll confess that I have made it before without the mint or pine nuts and it was still wonderful. If you don’t happen to have either of those on hand don’t sweat it. Also, I never add pasta water or oil to the sauce once it’s in the food processor as the original suggests, because I like a really thick sauce. However, if you want a thinner sauce, either of those ingredients should do the trick.
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, whole
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 pound rigatoni pasta
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with tin foil or parchment paper. On the baking sheet, combine the eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Smooth the vegetables out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven until the vegetables are tender and the eggplant is golden, about 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid (optional).
Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor. Add the torn mint leaves and the pine nuts and puree the vegetables. Transfer the pureed vegetables to the bowl with the pasta and add the parmesan. Stir to combine, adding the pasta cooking liquid (optional) 1/2 cup at a time until the pasta is saucy.