I don’t like to post two pasta dishes back to back, but two things happened that made it necessary to do just that. First, my neighbors came knocking with extra produce from their backyard garden, namely two beautiful, aubergine colored eggplants. (Did you know that in England they call eggplants aubergines?) Second, I was selected as a juror on a criminal case that lasted just over three weeks. While I gladly accepted the fresh eggplants into my life, you can imagine my feelings about a lengthy jury duty. Luckily I have a food blog of easy, quick recipes that I can make – hence the lack of new recipes posted lately.
I love eggplant. It is so versatile and because it doesn’t have a strong flavor on its own, goes with almost anything you pair with it. In the past I’ve made dips or eggplant parm., but I think because I have been loving grilled and roasted vegetables lately, this pairing was an easy decision for me.
This dish was so fresh and so satisfying (eggplant is a great source of fiber and vitamins A and C, not to mention folate) it has become a new favorite in my house. Well, with the grown-ups at least. I have to admit my kids preferred this pasta with just the fresh mozzarella and basil. But my husband and I gobbled up the roasted eggplant and red onion version!
1 lb Casarece pasta (kind of a twisted cavatelli shape, Barilla brand) cooked to package directions for al dente, pasta water reserved
1 medium eggplant rinsed diced
1/2 large red onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
juice of 1 lemon
extra virgin olive oil
red pepper flake
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes plus juices
fresh mozzarella diced
fresh chopped basil
Preheat oven to 375. Add the diced eggplant, garlic and red onion to a baking sheet. Drizzle with lemon juice, olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and red pepper flake, Toss to combine and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add the can of diced tomatoes and roast another 5 minutes.
In the meantime, cook the pasta in well salted boiling water. Drain and reserve about a cup of the water. (I do this all the time to add to the sauce – great flavor!)
Combine the pasta, roasted vegetables, fresh mozzarella and basil. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Plays well with others: Minus the pasta, this would make a great side dish or an excellent topping for bruschetta.