Eggplant & Rigatoni with Tomato Pesto

IMG_8100Last week I did A LOT of cooking. I was trying to decide which were the best of my recipes to share in an upcoming local magazine feature.

The assignment was to provide “tried and true” party recipes to “wow your guests.”I kept going back and forth about which of my favorites would meet those requirements. “What’s more tried and true than Grandma Carter’s recipes?”, I thought. So I whipped up Grandma’s Eggplant & Rigatoni with Tomato Pesto, with my own little twist. I cooked and I photographed and I served it up to my family. We all gobbled it up and with garlic breath (there is a lot of garlic in here!!!) my husband gave me the two thumbs up.

In the end, I decided not to submit this recipe as part of my magazine article. But not because it wasn’t delicious enough. On the contrary. It is actually one of my favorites. I decided to go with some other dishes that I created on my own and that felt a little more light and summery since warmer weather is right around the corner. (At least I hope! Yesterday we got about 5 inches of snow!)

Long story short, you all are the lucky recipients of this “tried and true” recipe. It will “wow your guests” or even just your family. Serve it warm on a cool evening or at room temperature in the summer months. Here’s what you’ll need.

First put together the sundried tomato pesto.

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Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

3/4 cup sun dried tomatoes

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

6 cloves garlic

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/4 cup fresh basil

1/2 tsp. salt

Combine sundried tomatoes, garlic, pine nuts, basil and salt in a food processor. Process until finely chopped. With machine running, gradually add 1/2 cup oil. Process until almost smooth. Set aside.

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Rigatoni with Eggplant & Pesto

1 medium onion

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt & Pepper (to taste)

1 medium eggplant

1 lb. whole wheat rigatoni

1/3 cup sun dried tomato pesto (above)

1/4 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese

Italian parsley or basil

Cut onion in 8 wedges. Put in 13 x 9 casserole dish. Brush with 1 Tbsp. oil. Roast in 425 degree oven 10 minutes. Cut stem off of eggplant. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise. Brush with remaining oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir onion. Place eggplant in pan cut side down. Roast 15 minutes more on until onion is golden brown and eggplant just tender. Meanwhile cook pasta and drain. Toss pasta with tomato pesto and pepper. Put in serving bowl and keep warm. Cut eggplant with serrated knife in 1/2″ slices. Toss eggplant and onions with pasta. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley. Serves 4 for dinner or 6 to 8 as a side dish.

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Serve alongside tofu, fish or a green salad. I hope you enjoy making my Grandma’s recipe as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you.

Look for another post soon where I’ll share the recipes that made the cut for the magazine!!!

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