Friday, August 19, 2011

Recipe: Pesto Penne with Eggplant

This is only my second time ever eating eggplant. The first time was marinated and then grilled on the BBQ. My mom-in-law's garden had just produced a whole basket of eggplant, both white and purple varieties, so we were excited to find a recipe and to cook them up. I will admit I was a little nervous at first how it was going to turn out, since I'd heard that if you prepare this veggie wrong it may turn out bitter. But all in all the recipe turned out wonderfully delicious, and we have since made it twice for friends and family. You could definately add cubed chicken or shrimp to the recipe and I bet it would be 10 times better.



  • 2 packed cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (see Cook's Note)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmesan


  • 1 pound trenette or other short-cut pasta
  • 1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmesan, plus 1/2 cup
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (1 1/2 pounds) medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (we used both purple and white varieties)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


My husband reminds me, STEP 1: Pour yourself a glass of wine :)
Pick fresh basil from the garden

Toast Pine Nuts

Cook's Note: To toast the pine nuts, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until lightly toasted, about 5 to 6 minutes. (We toasted these in a pan on the stove, since the oven was occupied). Cool completely before using.

Rinse Basil

For the pesto: In a blender or food processor, pulse the basil, pine nuts, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until finely chopped. With the machine running, gradually add the oil until the mixture is smooth and thick. Add the cheese and pulse until just incorporated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

For the pasta: 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 and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. Put the pasta into a large serving bowl and add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan. Toss until coated.

In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until the eggplant turns golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and cool slightly. Add the pesto and toss until the eggplant is coated.

Add the eggplant mixture to the serving bowl with the pasta and toss until all of the ingredients are coated. Thin out the sauce with a little pasta water, if needed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve.
The finished dish

All photos by me :)
Recipe Via

1 comment:

  1. This looks delish! I can't wait to try it out. Hopefully it will be just as good with grocery bought eggplant and basil.


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