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”.Ā  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!


Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch

Yield: Serves 4-6


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


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 šŸ˜‰

  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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