One of the tastiest and spur of the moment dishes I’ve ever made. I only had a few things in my fridge and that was all I needed. Many of the ingredients in this dish are my favorite foods; eggplant, spinach, peppers, jumbo rigatoni, and pesto. I steamed the eggplant first before i cut it into slices and fried it with a dash of Herbs de Provence, an herbal blend you can find at any supermarket in the seasonings aisle. Everything went together beautifully, and if you love these flavors too then do not hesitate to make this improvised Mediterranean dish.
Yields: 1 cup pesto
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or agave
- 2-3 handfuls of slivered almonds/pine nuts/cashews (I used almonds)
- 2-3 cloves grated garlic
- salt to taste
Blend all ingredients on low to medium or pulse. Do not whip on high for a long time. You want herb pieces, not a green smoothie. If you're allergic to nuts then just add a bit more basil.
- Preparation time: 5 minutes
Yields: 2-3 servings
- 1 box Rigatoni (jumbo preferred)
- 1 large Eggplant
- 2-3 large handfuls of baby spinach
- 1 green pepper
- 1/2 cup pesto
- 1/4 cup olive oil for frying
- dash of herbs de provence seasonings blend
- dash of chili flakes
- salt, pepper to taste
Make the pesto first and put to the side. If you don't want a whole cup of the pesto then cut the recipe in half to make enough for this dish.
Start boiling the pasta water.
Steam a whole eggplant until it's almost cooked, not too soft, and still firm in the center (put a knife through it to feel if it is still firm, 10-15 minutes). Slice it thick when it's cooled in 1 to 2 inch segments and fry on medium to high heat in the olive oil and with a dash of the herbs de provence and chili flakes on each side.
Jumbo rigatoni will take longer than other pasta, 10-15 minutes, but 8-10 minutes if you are using another type. Make sure it's al dente when you strain it.
When the eggplant is done and browned evenly, put two slices to the side, take the skin off those two slices, then mash and mix it with the 1/2 cup of pesto. Put the other slices on a paper bag or paper towel to absorb some of the oil.
Prepare the plates with a bed of greens, spinach and peppers. You could also use arugula, kale, zucchini, snap peas, etc. Mix the finished pasta with the eggplant pesto in the fry pan used for the eggplant. Scoop a big helping onto the raw greens and place the fried eggplant slices on top of the dish.
- Preparation time: 20 minutes
- Cook time: 20 minutes
- Total time: 40 minutes
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