Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rigatoni with Eggplant Purée

I loved tonight's dinner. We had our "Meatless Monday" tonight as we had guests Monday night and just swapped days we made meatless. I had an eggplant from Front Porch Pickings so yippee I get to make some even though the boys aren't fans.  Just one more great reason to use a csa or community sponsored agriculture.  (Although FPP is better than any other one I have used. I love that you can customize your baskets.)  Funny story my husband started singing "you down with FPP" so of course I answered "yea you know me". Your welcome for the ear worm.  But back to having a CSA, there are so many reasons I love and advocate for people joining one.  First and most important to the foodie in me is that the quality, flavor and variety can't be matched by a large grocery.  Secondly it is the healthiest option for your produce.  Local means more time to mature on the plant and more nutrients in your food.  The delivery of local and seasonal produce also forces you in to eating a variety of foods you might try or buy.  (like the eggplant I often avoid just to be kind to my boys:) Variety in produce means a variety in nutrients.    It is healthier for the planet too, as there is less of a carbon footprint because your food hasn't been shipped from around the world.  It is also the most economical way to get organic produce as it is always cheaper then organic in the big stores and is often the same price as the non organic stuff in the grocery.  Ok I'm getting off my soap box.  I loved tonight's dinner, and surprisingly so did the boys!  My son was less enthusiastic about it once he found out there was eggplant in it but he still ate it.  (he loved it before he found out what was in it;)  It is a great way to sneak some veggies in your kids.  The original recipe called for mint and pine nuts.  I wasn't going to buy $6 in pine nuts because I had plenty of nuts at home and I'm not the hugest fan. I love almonds and had some I needed to use up anyways.  I meant to put the mint in it, but had a senior moment and harvested the basil out of my garden instead of mint.  I realized this after we ate it.  I think it was great as is and would keep making it this was.

Rigatoni With Eggplant Puree
1 medium eggplant cut into 1-inch cubes
1 Pint cherry tomatoes
3 Clove garlic whole
3 Tbl olive oil
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 Cup almonds
1 Lb rigatoni pasta
1/4 Cup torn fresh basil leaves
3 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment
In a large bowl combine the eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red
pepper flakes. Spread 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.
While the vegetables are roasting, place the pine nuts in a small baking
dish. Place in the oven on the rack below the vegetables. Roast until
golden, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and reserve.
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.
Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor. Add the torn mint
leaves and extra-virgin olive oil. 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 1/2 cup at a
time until the pasta is saucy. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top and

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