Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pasta-Bake with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch

This is another great vegetarian recipe. It's easy to prepare, though not quick, but you get at least two dinners worth of food out of it. The pine nut crunch is yummy! The original recipe is from Bon Appetit and called "Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch".

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1-2 eggplants (1 3/4 pounds), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 yellow bell peppers, cut into 1/2 inch squares
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tsp garlic powder
3-4 tbsp olive oil
2 cups (firmly packed) fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cup parmesan
1/2 cup pine nuts
1  28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 pound elbow maccaroni
1 pound whole-milk mozzarella, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, mix egglant, bell pepper, tomatoes, 1 tsp garlic powder and oil. Spread vegetables on baking sheet and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables until tender, about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice. Combine half the basil, 1 cup parmesan, pine nuts and 1/2 tsp garlic powder in a food processor. Blend until crumbly. Blend tomatoes with juice, cream, remaining basil, and 1/2 tsp garlic powder until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook pasta al dente in boiling salted water. Drain and return to pot. Toss with vegetables, sauce, and 1/2 cup parmesan. Transfer to a suitable baking dish. Sprinkle with mozzarella and pine nut topping. Bake pasta until heated through and golden brown on top, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.

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