Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch*

I’m Alive! Osama Bin Laden Is Not! I spent all last week visiting with my grandparents who were in town from Texas. I tried desperately to write/post the recipes I had ready to go…but I just couldn’t bring myself to do anymore then to answer emails. I got home from Tampa on Saturday afternoon with a whole list of things to get done…and instead I slept. I slept for 13 hours straight. I honestly felt like I needed a vacation from my “vacation”.  So when I woke up today, Sunday, I felt refreshed and I tackled that to do list.

First up was this Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch. Thankfully, after a few gallons of coffee, I was able to concentrate on my knife skills well enough to chop up all the veggies for this pasta. This pasta definitely fits into the Veggiefull recipes I have been talking about the last few weeks! There are over 6 different veggies in this dish, including the vitamin packed Eggplant. This recipe does take a little longer then most pastas, but it is definitely worth the extra time!

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Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch

Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 large shallot, chopped
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups (firmly packed) fresh basil leaves, divided
1 1/4 cup freshly graded Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 15 oz can whole plum tomatoes in juice
1/4 cup fat free milk
2 tablespoons fat free plain Greek yogurt
13.25 oz whole wheat penne
Fresh mozzarella for grating over the top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425. Spray large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Add eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, shallot, and yellow onion. Drizzle veggies with 2 tbsp oil. Toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast veggies until tender, stirring often, 35-45 minutes.

Combine 3/4 cup basil, 3/4 cup parmesan, pine nuts, and 2 garlic cloves in food processor. Blend until crumbly. Season with salt. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Blend tomatoes with juice, milk, greek yogurt, 1 1/3 cups basil, and 1 garlic clove in processor until smooth. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Return to pot. Toss with veggies, sauce, and 1/2 cup parmesan. Transfer to a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with mozzarella and pine nut topping.

Bake pasta until heated through, 25-35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.

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28 Responses to “Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch”

  1. 1

    Gwenevere — May 2, 2011 @ 6:35 am

    mmmmmm….I’m going to try this with sausage and sub out the pine nuts with water chestnuts (my kids have a nut allergy). This looks terrific!

  2. 2

    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — May 2, 2011 @ 6:45 am

    I’m always looking for new healthy pasta recipes and this looks delicious! Love all the different veggies you chose!

  3. 3

    Kim @ Feed Me, Seymour — May 2, 2011 @ 7:39 am

    I saw this recipe on Joanne’s site a few weeks ago and was thinking of making it. Now, I must! It looks fabulous, different and super tasty! And it looks like it might stop my thighs from getting any bigger than they already are!

  4. 4

    elle marie — May 2, 2011 @ 8:57 am

    Don’t you just love how Rigatoni soaks up any flavor or sauce? I was wondering what was going on, on twitter, seeing posts about Osama…. I completely skipped the news today…. I need to follow up later and see what’s going on.

  5. 5

    DessertForTwo — May 2, 2011 @ 9:50 am

    Whoa, eggplant has vitamins?? Alton Brown told me it didn’t so I don’t feel guilty picking it out of things! In fact, I didn’t even plant any in the garden this year. Hmm…going to have to reconsider. Gotta have my veggies with plenty of desserts :)

    • Jessica replied: — May 5th, 2011 @ 2:57 am

      Dude. I was totally worried that you were right and Eggplant didn’t have vitamins. I was going to be incredibly upset lol! I eat Eggplant all the time! Thankfully after googleing I can confirm, yes it does indeed have vitamins! And fiber! (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=22) :-)

  6. 6

    Erin — May 2, 2011 @ 10:57 am

    I can already tell I am going to love this dish. I love pine nuts!

  7. 7

    Nelly Rodriguez — May 2, 2011 @ 11:08 am

    Lovee pine nuts! This looks delicious!

  8. 8

    The Teacher Cooks — May 2, 2011 @ 11:23 am

    I think that this is a great recipe to try on my family. They are not a fan of eggplant and maybe I can sneak it in with this great looking rigatoni!

    • Jessica replied: — May 5th, 2011 @ 2:58 am

      Hey girl, I am just catching up on comments and emails! But I wanted to tell you, you really can not taste Eggplant in this. Because of the topping and everything else going on, the Eggplant is not obvious. So I think it would be a great way to sneak in an extra veggie ;-)

  9. 9

    Joanne — May 2, 2011 @ 12:43 pm

    Ohh yay! I’m so glad you made it and liked it! It made me feel good about every cheesy pasta-full bite to know just how many veggies were in there.

    I think chilling with your grandparents is the best excuse I’ve heard for a blogging hiatus all day!

    • Jessica replied: — May 5th, 2011 @ 2:59 am

      Thanks for posting it Joanne! All that melted cheese on top in your photos had me hooked and I had to make it! :-)

  10. 10

    Tina (My Life as a Mrs) — May 2, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

    YUM! Eggplant and Pesto = my kind of meal. Looks delish!

  11. 11

    Aggie — May 2, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

    Oh my gosh, this looks sooooo delicious!! Love everything about it!

  12. 12

    Kimmy @ Lighter and Local — May 2, 2011 @ 6:53 pm

    Oh wow. Eggplant and pesto, I’m in heaven. I love pasta bakes as a way to get in a whole lot of veggies.

  13. 13

    Stephanie — May 3, 2011 @ 6:57 am

    YES YES YES…… definitely adding this on my ‘to make’ list!
    The protein pancakes were a delicious by the way.

    Question: How do I make good frosting????? can’t be able to nail it down and I am sure you know how to… :) thanks!!!!

    • Jessica replied: — May 5th, 2011 @ 2:47 am

      Stephanie! I somehow just saw this comment!

      What kind of frosting are you looking for? Regular buttercream or a special kind like Swiss Meringue Buttercream?

  14. 14

    natalie (the sweets life) — May 3, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

    this is one of the most delicious looking pasta recipes i’ve ever seen! yum!

  15. 15

    Maris (in Good Taste) — May 3, 2011 @ 7:29 pm

    I love everything in this. It looks delicious!

  16. 16

    Chiara — May 4, 2011 @ 7:23 am

    I love pasta with veggies! Great recipe, I would have never thought of using yogurt.

    • Jessica replied: — May 5th, 2011 @ 3:00 am

      I use Greek Yogurt in everything! The original recipe called for Heavy Cream…and that is just so fattening. So I used regular milk, but to fatten it up like heavy cream, I added a little yogurt! Works every time! :-)

  17. 17

    Stephanie — May 5, 2011 @ 3:32 am

    Hey Jess, dunno how to reply on your answer to my comment, so will just leave another comment. I guess I am looking for the normal one. Basically all the recipes I have seen tell me to use powdered sugar and water or something and then it becomes frosting. I just want my muffins to have the white hard little sugary layer on top to give the top an extra crunch to it… :S

  18. 18

    Audrey Ellen @ My Scene and Herd — May 8, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

    pasta loaded with veggies always makes me feel so happy and satisfied! i dont have that “i-just-ate-salad-im-still-hungry-wheres-the-chocolate” feeling, but i also got some veggies up in the mix!

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