Monday, April 9, 2012

Rigatoni with Creamy Eggplant and Mozzarella

We drove back from Austin this morning after spending the weekend with Stephanie and David. We had a great time cooking our dinner together. We had the usual Spiral sliced Honey Ham, au Gratin Potatoes, Glazed Carrots, Roasted Asparagus and ended with a slice of cheesecake. It was a very delicious feast.

I turned to a pasta dish for dinner tonight with rigatoni as the base for a creamy tomato sauce with eggplant and finished with basil and fresh mozzarella. This is a fabulous pasta dish for a meatless Monday.

Rigatoni with Creamy Eggplant and Mozzarella (Serves 4)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 medium Japanese eggplant, medium dice (about 4 cups)
1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup loosely packed thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1 pound rigatoni
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, small dice

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the onion and garlic and cook until just softened. Add eggplant, stir to coat in oil, then let cook, stirring rarely, until softened and golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove half eggplant mixture and reserve.

Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions.

Reduce heat to medium-low, add the tomatoes, cream, and half the basil, and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld and sauce is slightly thickened, about 4 minutes.

Drain pasta and return to the pot off the heat. Pour sauce over top and stir until well coated. Add reserved eggplant, remaining basil, and mozzarella and mix until the cheese starts to soften. Serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Aida Mollenkamp

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