Sun 24 Apr 2011
We love baked pasta dishes, and the March 2011 issue of Bon Appetit features several recipes, including this Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch. The vegetables are roasted and then combined with cooked pasta, Parmesan cheese and a tomato cream sauce.
The end result is a hearty, gooey, delicious dinner.
To finish this vegetarian dish, top with mozzarella cheese and a crumble of Parmesan, basil, garlic and pine nuts and bake. I wanted to make this dish ahead, so I followed the recipe to the point where the vegetables, pasta, cheese and sauce are combined and placed in the baking dish. I then refrigerated it until I was ready to bake it, and, at that point, added the mozzarella and pine nut crunch. If you refrigerate before baking, add about 10 minutes to the cooking time.
To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use Parmesan and mozzarella without colour and tomatoes and whipping cream with no preservatives added. To spice this recipe up, add hot pepper flakes when roasting the vegetables and to the Parmesan cheese.
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 unpeeled large eggplant (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium yellow bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch squares
2 cups grape tomatoes
3 large garlic cloves, divided
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cups (firmly packed) fresh basil leaves, divided
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes in juice
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 pound rigatoni
1 pound whole-milk mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
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.
Combine 2/3 cup basil, 1/2 cup Parmesan, pine nuts, and 1 garlic clove in mini processor. Blend until crumbly. Season topping with salt.
Blend tomatoes with juice, cream, 1 1/3 cups basil, and 1 garlic clove in processor until smooth. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
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 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with mozzarella and pine nut topping.
Bake pasta until heated through, 25 to 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.
From the March 2011 issue of Bon Appetit