Pasta with Eggplant and Pesto

13 Aug
This is the story of three foods that moved in together and created the most delicious relationship.
 
Friends: meet Pesto, Pasta, & Eggplant.
 
For the Pesto:
2 packed cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 c toasted pine nuts
1 clove garlic (I don’t believe you can ever use too much garlic; I put in two)
1/2 tsp salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/4 tsp black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
2/3 c EVOO, eyeball it
1/2 c grated Parmesan, plus extra for topping
 
Mix all in a food processor (or blender).  If you don’t have either, borrow one from a neighbor.  Store-bought pesto is “ehhh”; homemade pesto is da bomb.
 
 
For the Pasta:
Bring a large pot of salted (a palm full) water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta (I used what I had although I prefer penne–you can use whatev, though) and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and save about 1 cup of the pasta water.
Put the pasta into a large serving bowl and add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan. Toss until coated.
For the Eggplant:
In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the EVOO over med-high heat. Add the eggplant and season with salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring frequently, until the eggplant turns golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool slightly. Add the pesto and toss until the eggplant is coated.

 

Add the eggplant mixture to the serving bowl with the pasta and toss until all of the ingredients are coated. Thin out the sauce with a little pasta water (if needed). Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Top with extra parmesan…Weesie, are you down wit dat?
 
 
Holly’s Notes:
I prefer an all basil pesto, but when I got to my fridge, I realized I only had about 3/4 c of basil leaves. I threw in 1/2 c of baby spinach, and it still tasted great (arugula also works as a substitute).
To toast the pine nuts, arrange them in a single layer in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Toast for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. They’re done when golden-brown…and you can smell’em. Caution: these suckers burn easily, so watch’em.
Eggplants are a really “thirsty” vegetable, so I often have to add extra EVOO to the skillet as they’re cooking. 
***If you’re like my husband and dinner isn’t complete without meat, I just heated up some leftover chicken I had in the fridge and served it right on top.
  
  
*Recipe courtesy of Giada DeLaurentiis
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3 Responses to “Pasta with Eggplant and Pesto”

  1. Dana - Food for Thought August 13, 2010 at 11:05 am #

    This sounds like such an amazing combo…. I love pesto, pasta, and eggplant, so I’m sure I’ll love this!

  2. Jason G. Goldman August 13, 2010 at 11:52 am #

    If you don’t almost burn down your kitchen making your pesto, you’re doing it wrong. (Seriously, if you want a pesto recipe you can freeze into ice cubes for later use, check it out)

  3. heb2010 August 13, 2010 at 1:51 pm #

    Jason-

    Thanks for the freezing tip! I’m up for any cooking tip that will save me time. And red pepper in pesto…I like the sound of that.

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