Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

This recipe in it’s entirety is absolutely delicious, but I’ll confess that I have made it before without the mint or pine nuts and it was still wonderful. If you don’t happen to have either of those on hand don’t sweat it. Also, I never add pasta water or oil to the sauce once it’s in the food processor as the original suggests, because I like a really thick sauce. However, if you want a thinner sauce, either of those ingredients should do the trick.

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, whole
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 pound rigatoni pasta
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with tin foil or parchment paper. On the baking sheet, combine the eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Smooth 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.

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 (optional).

Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor. Add the torn mint leaves and the pine nuts and 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 (optional) 1/2 cup at a time until the pasta is saucy.