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Eggplant Rigatoni

Eggplant Rigatoni

Looking for something a little different to do with all that eggplant? Here's a unique pasta dish to try. It's our grandmother's recipe for Eggplant Rigatoni. She wasn't Italian herself, but she married into my grandpa's Italian family and she happened to love to cook, so she learned all of her mother-in-law's family recipes from her homeland. It's an extra special one for me, because I like to think of my grandma preparing this for her family, nourishing my dad and his sisters as kids.

If you don't want to take the time to make the pesto, you can use store-bought... we won't tell. :)

For 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

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

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Italian parsley or basil

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

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut onion in 8 wedges. Put in 13 x 9 casserole dish. Brush with 1 Tbsp. oil. Roast in oven for 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 or 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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