I spotted this recipe in my Bon Appetit magazine…the basil crunch with the gooey mozzerralla caught my eye immediately. I decided to try it out for our October cooking club. Although there are alot of steps involved, its a pretty easy recipe and the outcome is amazing…the dish was clean by the end of the night!
- 1 unpeeled large eggplant (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 medium yellow bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch squares
- 2 cups grape tomatoes
- 3 large garlic cloves, divided
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 cups (firmly packed) fresh basil leaves, divided
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 28-oz can whole tomatoes in juice
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 lb rigatoni
- 1 lb whole-milk mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray; add eggplant and peppers. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise; add to sheet. Sprinkle 1 crushed garlic clove onto vegetables. Drizzle vegetables with oil; toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables until tender, stirring often, 35 to 45 minutes.
2. Combine 2/3 cup basil, 1/2 cup Parmesan, pine nuts, and 1 garlic clove in mini processor. Blend until crumbly. Season topping with salt.
3. Blend tomatoes with juice, cream, 1 1/3 cups basil, and 1 garlic clove in processor until smooth. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
4. Cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally; drain. Return to pot. Toss with vegetables, sauce, and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Transfer to 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with mozzarella and pine nut topping.
5. Bake pasta until heated through, 25 to 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.