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Rigatoni with Eggplant and Basil

Rigatoni and roasted eggplant are tossed together with a fragrant, chunky tomato, pepper and basil sauce for this easy, meatless pasta meal. It makes a great choice for a summer dinner when fresh eggplant is readily available. Serve with a salad and a glass of Chianti.

Rigatoni with Eggplant and Basil

Rigatoni with Eggplant and Basil

  • Ingredients:
  • 8 ounces rigatoni (or other ridged tubular pasta)
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
  • 3 cups diced tomatoes (28 ounce can)
  • 1/2 cup chiffonade of fresh basil, loosely packed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for grating

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 425°F and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

Place the eggplant and peppers in a large bowl. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread the mixture over the 2 lined baking sheets. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the eggplant is tender and golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.

While the eggplant and peppers cook, heat the remaining olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, 3 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 2 minutes longer.

Add the tomatoes and bring the mixture to a low simmer. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil.

While the sauce simmers, cook and drain the pasta. Add to the finished sauce along with the roasted eggplant-pepper mixture. Toss gently. Divide between 4 pasta bowls and top with some freshly ground black pepper and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

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