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!

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.