Sunday, January 18, 2009

Spicy Roasted Eggplant Penne

This is a really delicious vegetarian pasta dish that I've made a couple of times since purchasing Giada's Kitchen, an excellent new cookbook that was recommended by Cream Puffs in Venice with such delicious pictures and descriptions that I had to buy the book! I'm so glad I did as the recipes all sound amazing and everything I've tried so far has been absolutely delicious. With many recipes, even if I like and enjoy them, I know I'll probably only end up making them one time or very occasionally. With this particular recipe, though, I know it's a keeper I'll return to again and again any time I need a quick dinner, want to cook something relatively inexpensive, or am feeding vegetarians (and non-veggies!).

You'll want to use a normal purple eggplant (not the small Japanese variety), but you can easily vary the amount by varying the eggplant size and amount of pasta. A smaller eggplant and 1/2 pound of pasta will make enough for two people, while a large eggplant and 1 pound of pasta will make enough for four. I've made it both ways, and didn't adjust any of the other turned out very well in either case.

Check out some other awesome pasta recipes from Haalo of Cook Almost Anything, in this week's Presto Pasta Nights round-up, which will be posted this Friday. You can also find out more about Presto Pasta Nights here and check out the original host, Ruth, at Once Upon a Feast.

Spicy Roasted Eggplant Penne (adapted from Giada's Kitchen: New Italian Favorites by Giada de Laurentiis)
2-4 servings, depending on the size eggplant and amount of pasta you choose (see above)

1 eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, whole
3 T olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 to 1 pound penne pasta
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
3 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil. In a large bowl, combine the eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Spread the vegetables on the prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Roast in the oven until the vegetables are tender and the eggplant is golden, 35 minutes.

2. While the vegetables are roasting, lightly toast the pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium heat until browned. Watch them very carefully, as they can burn quite easily.

3. 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, 8-10 minutes. Drain , reserving 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water. Return pasta to pot.

4. Transfer the roasted vegetables to food processor. Add the torn mint leaves and the olive oil. Pulse until the vegetables are pureed, but still somewhat chunky with some distinct bits of vegetables. Season to taste with more freshly ground black pepper.

5. Transfer the vegetables to the pot with the pasta and heat gently to make sure everything is warmed through. Add the pasta cooking liquid if needed to thin the sauce (I didn't need to do this). Serve with the toasted pine nuts and Parmesan sprinkled on top.

I'm sending this off to the Pasta Blog Hop at Katherine Martinelli.


  1. I love Giada's new book and have already earmarked this recipe. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

  2. This sounds delicious, I've been cooking with eggplant more often recently. I'll have to give it a try!

  3. This pasta dish sounds outstanding. I like the addition of mint and pine nutes. Yours definitely stands out in the great roundup!

  4. This looks wonderful... I must see if it will work with rice! Thanks for the recipe!

  5. I made this tonight, and it was fantastic! Thank you.

  6. I will be making this tonight....thank you.

  7. Mmm this has some of my favorite ingredients!! I can't wait to give it a go. Thanks for linking up to my pasta blog hop! Pinned :-)

  8. This recipe had me at the garlic, cherry tomatoes, and eggplant. What a fabulous combination. Visiting from Katherine Martinelli's pasta hop.