Eggplant: it’s not just a naughty emoji. Traditionally, eggplant season starts in late Summer, but today they were just $1.00 each and beautiful at my grocery store. I bought one and a container of cherry tomatoes and want to show you a quick and easy recipe. Oven roasting with tomatoes and onions is my go-to method for cooking eggplant. Combine it with pasta, and you’re left with a flavorful and quick weeknight dish.
It’s easy to fear eggplant. I’m a confessed former eggplant hater–now reformed, thanks to preparations like this. When choosing eggplant, pick one that feels a little heavier than it looks. You want one that feels firm, with shiny and smooth skin, plus minimal dimpling or cracks. I aim for eggplant about 8 inches long…a bit longer than your hand. Eggplant bigger than that tend to have tougher skin and seeds that you have to cut around because they can taste bitter. I’d rather get a smaller one and eat the seeds and skin rustic-style.
By the way, the plural of “eggplant” is still “eggplant.” Never say “eggplants,” not if you want to be respected in the produce section.
The roasted eggplant and tomato portion of this recipe is versatile. It doesn’t exactly scream Party Food, but guests seems to always ask me for the recipe. It tastes good hot and fresh, as well as at room temperature. You can mash it up and turn it into a dip or a topping for bruschetta. I’ve eaten bowls of it with a few bits of fresh mozzarella added, for a fresh interpretation of Eggplant Parmesan. If you have fresh pizza dough, top your pizza with this mixture and some cheese. You’ll feel like a gourmand.
Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Pasta Print This Post
Feeds a gang of people.
1 eggplant, diced into 1 inch cubes
2 pints cherry tomatoes, cut each tomato in half
1/2 onion, roughly diced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 Tablespoon no-salt all purpose seasoning (try Mrs. Dash, Kirkland at Costco or Trader Joes)
1 lb pkg pasta (I used Trader Joes orecchiette, aka “little ears”)
1 cup ricotta cheese (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper or foil for easier clean up.
2. Toss eggplant, tomatoes, onion and garlic with olive oil and all seasonings.
3. Spread eggplant/tomato mix on the lined sheet pan. Overcrowding is ok. Bake for 30-40 minutes. If you remember it, stir once half-way through cooking. If you forget, stir the mixture well once it’s finished cooking.
4. While waiting for veggies to roast, boil pasta in salted water according to package directions. Once pasta is cooked, reserve 1 cup cooking water.
5. Toss cooked veggies with pasta and reserved water. Taste and add salt if needed.d
6. Top each serving with ricotta, if using. Grated parmesan works well here as well.
NOTE: We ended up stirring the rest of our ricotta with the pasta. It wasn’t as pretty served this way, but my husband ate three bowls full. No joke.
Please let me know if you give this recipe a try. It’s on regular rotation at my home. I’d love to hear what you think.