Another Eggplant and Another Guest Post

Hi there, Lauren again. This week my Mom is at the beach, that lucky devil! I however make out when she goes on vacation because I get her CSA bounty! As some of you might remember , last time she was away I got two eggplants and made a delicious eggplant parmesan that my kids devoured. This dish had the same effects and I highly recommend it.

Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree
Adapted from Giada DeLaurentis

1 small eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, whole
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground beef
1 pound rigatoni pasta
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Glug of balsamic or red wine vinegar or freshly-squeezed lemon juice (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Spread the vegetables out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven until the vegetables are tender and the eggplant is golden, about 35 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, brown your ground beef. Set aside, but keep warm.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl and reserve (at least) 2 cups of the cooking liquid.

Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor. Add the torn mint leaves and extra-virgin olive oil. Puree the vegetables.

Transfer the pureed vegetables and beef to the bowl with the pasta and add the Parmesan. Stir to combine, adding the pasta cooking liquid 1/2 cup at a time until the pasta is saucy, as well as a glug of vinegar (optional). Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top and serve.

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