Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pistachios Crunch

Eggplants are another delicious and purple vegetable. Eggplants grow from August to October on vines, much like tomatoes. These purple vegetables are full of dietary fiber and potassium as well as manganese.  With a spongy texture, these vegetables are a brain food that are rich in antioxidant.  Most eggplants are tear dropped shape but some can be long and skinny. This recipe uses this great vegetable to make a delicious pasta dish.  Despite the name of this dish,  it is not entirely crunchy. The baking of the dish makes the top lightly crunchy but the inside is totally soft and delicate.  This is another great dish that you can play with and taste. Hope you like it!

Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pistachio Nut Crunch
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 un-peeled large eggplant (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pound), cut into 1/2-inch cubes (Blue Spring Farms)
2 medium peppers (we used some semi-hot green ones), cut into 1/2-inch cubes (Bell Organic)
2 cups grape tomatoes (Jacob's Cove)
3 large garlic cloves, divided (Sandhill Farms)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cups (firmly packed) fresh basil leaves, divided (Bell Organic, Jacob's Cove and our own)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided (Gold Creek Farms)
1/4 cup pistachios (or pecans or whatever nuts you have)
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes in juice (or about 2 pounds fresh tomatoes, blanched with skin removed, see note below)
1 cup 2% milk (Winder Dairy)
1 pound rigatoni (Nu-Nooz)
1/2-1 pound whole-milk mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (Gold Creek Farms)

  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F. Spray large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray; add eggplant and peppers.  Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise; add to sheet.  Using garlic press, squeeze 1 garlic clove onto vegetables. Drizzle vegetables with oil; toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables until tender, stirring often, 35 to 45 minutes. 
  2. Combine 2/3 cup basil, 1/2 cup Parmesan, pistachios, and 1 garlic clove in mini processor. Blend until crumbly. Season topping with salt. 
  3. Blend tomatoes with juice, milk, 1 1/3 cup basil, and 1 garlic clove in processor until smooth. Season sauce with salt and pepper. 
  4. Cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally; drain. Return to pot. Toss with vegetables, sauce, and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Transfer to 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with mozzarella and pistachio topping. 
  5. Bake pasta until heated through, 25 to 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.
--if using fresh tomatoes for the sauce, use plum tomatoes if possible. Cut X in top of each tomato, place in boiling water for 10 seconds then in ice bath. Peel skin, remove skin and mash tomatoes to express juices.
--add in some chopped onion and zucchini to the eggplant and roast them all together. We did this only because we have SO MUCH zucchini that we are adding it to almost any dish we make!
adapted from BonAppetit March 2011

1 comment:

  1. Bianca - This looks great! I think John and I will try it tonight. Hope to see you at the Market.