08 February 2012

Rigatoni with Roasted Eggplant Pesto

I originally saw a similar recipe while waiting in line at the grocery store.  I picked up the latest issue of La Cucina Italiana and for some reason eggplant pesto sounded mouthwatering.  I didn't buy the magazine, but read the recipe and ingredients and figured I could remember it.  Well, by the time I made it (last night) it had been atleast a week and I didn't remember the recipe, so I did what I do best: improvised.   After some searching I did find the original recipe, but I won't lie, I rather like my version. 

Unfortunately, I'm a decorator, not a recipe writer, so you will have to bear with me.  The measurements and cook times are a bit hazy.

Rigatoni with Roasted Eggplant Pesto

1 lb rigatoni or pasta of your choosing
1 eggplant
8 garlic cloves
roughly 1/4 cup of pine nuts
roughly 1/2 cup arugula
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup olive oil, plus extra for roasting
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400F.
Cut the eggplant in half and using a sharp knife, cut a cross hatch pattern in both sides of the flesh.  Sprinkle generously with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Sprinkle garlic gloves and pine nuts with olive oil and spread on sheet pan or place in ramekins.
Roast eggplant flesh side down for 30 to 40 minutes or until soft.  Roast garlic and pine nuts for less time - this part is hazy- just keep an eye on them- you want both to be golden.
Remove garlic, pine nuts and eggplant from the oven.  Allow to cool slightly. 
In a food processor, combine eggplant, garlic cloves, pine nuts, arugula, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Process until a moist paste is made.  Pour over cooked pasta and toss to combine.  Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.


For a bolder garlic flavor, cut the amount of cloves in half and skip roasting them.

Parsley or even basil can be substituted for arugula.  Arugula is what I had, so that's what I used!

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