Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes with Penne

I don’t think I need to reiterate that eggplant is my favorite vegetable. As I previously mentioned, there are so many lovely ones available at the market this time of year, and I always buy lots of them. Of course, there’s also a plethora of tomatoes at the market; I end up buying a few pints of different cherry tomatoes in addition to heirlooms and romas. Of course, at this point, I find myself with too many tomatoes and eggplants (amongst other vegetables) on my hands. Although I love being in the kitchen, trying to use up all this produce sometimes tires me out, which is why roasting has become my preferred method of dealing with much of my summer produce. Not only is it incredibly easy, but I find that it really brings out the flavor of the vegetables.

Eggplant tends to soak up a lot of oil, but roasting cubes of it in the oven allows them to cook to a nice texture without the use of a lot of oil. I also like to oven-roast cherry tomatoes, as doing so amplifies their sweetness. This time around, I used:
  • Sweet 100s – very sweet small bright red cherry tomatoes
  • Sungold cherry tomatoes – sweet yellow cherry tomatoes
  • Small homegrown purple eggplants – much more mild and tender than larger ones
  • Small lavender and white eggplants from the market – also mild and tender

This recipe calls for a lot of tomato and eggplant, as they cook down considerably in the oven, and also because I prefer lots of veggies with pasta rather than the other way around.
It’s also really easy and quick, which makes it great for a lazy summer evening, which, sadly, will soon be a thing of the past.

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato with Penne
(serves 2-4, depending on the course)

5 cups eggplant, diced slightly larger than ½ inch (from 2-3 small/medium eggplants)
4 cups cherry tomatoes (from 2 pints, I like 1 pint each of red and yellow)
3 medium garlic cloves, quartered
2 teaspoons salt
¼ - ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ pound penne
16-20 basil leaves, torn into pieces
4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes


Preheat oven to 450° F. Toss all ingredients except for the pasta, basil, and cheese in a large bowl. Spread in a single even layer on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake on middle rack for 12-15 minutes, until the eggplant is tender but holds its shape and the tomatoes have burst open and released their juices.

In the meantime, cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and return the pasta to the pot. Add the roasted eggplant and tomatoes and their juices and mix well. Let the pasta sit for a few minutes so that it can absorb the tomato juice. Transfer to a serving bowl and toss in the basil and mozzarella.


Meghan said...

this looks amazing!
im posting a dish from last night, pasta and using grilled eggplant, sometime this week!

Anonymous said...

This makes my mouth water and since I'm on Weight Watchers, I can enjoy this dish without guilt! I'm making it tonight to accompany Tilapia filets. Thanks for a beautiful recipe. Ann

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