Sunday, March 20, 2011

Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch

So, I've been slacking in the food blogging department recently. I've had other things on my mind... most importantly getting ready to give birth to my second child! Instead of obsessing about what to make for dinner, I have been focusing my creative side on decorating and cleaning, readying my house for a new person's arrival. Obviously food has to figure into this somewhere in my house and I have been trying to plan ahead and freeze some meals for post-delivery chaos. When my son was born, almost four years ago, I had every intention of filling my freezer with easily reheatable meals. That never happened. I wanted to make sure this time I actually had a few things tucked away, so take out wouldn't be our only option.

In order to make sure this happens, I have been making one dinner per week that makes enough for at least two meals, eating one and freezing the other. So far only two things have made it into the freezer, but in my opinion that is better than zero. One of the meals is chicken pot pie, filling frozen in containers and the pastry topping frozen in plastic baggies. All I'll need to do is defrost and assemble. The other dish is this baked pasta that I found in the March 2011 issue of Bon Appetit. We had it for dinner last week and it is really tasty. It is a little labor intensive, so it's nice that it makes enough for at least two meals. You could always double it and pack more of it away if you wanted.

Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch
Adapted from Bon Appetit March 2011

1 1/2 - 1 3/4 pounds of eggplant cut into 1/2 inch cubes (I used about four Italian eggplants
2 medium yellow bell peppers cut into 1/2 squares
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half lenghtwise
5 cloves of garlic, divided
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes (San Marzanos make all the difference!)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 pound rigatoni
1 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Preheat oven to 425

On a large baking sheet toss eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, 3 cloves of minced garlic, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, stirring often, 35-45 minutes.

Meanwhile combine 2/3 cup basil, 1/2 cup Parmesan, pine nuts and 1 clove of garlic in a mini food processor. Blend until crumbly. Season with salt.

Blend tomatoes with their juice, cream, 1 1/3 cups basil and 1 clove of garlic in food processor or blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta in salted boiling water until just tender and firm to bite. Drain and return to pot. Add vegetables, sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Transfer half to baking dish ( or all if you plan on making all at once) and half to a freezer and oven safe container (I filled a 7 cup Pyrex). Sprinkle both portions evenly with the pine nut topping and mozzarella.

If you are baking, add to preheated (425) oven and cook through, about 25-35 minutes or until bubbly and browned on top.

If freezing, seal well and tuck away for a lazy night. I am not sure if I will be defrosting this before heating or just putting the frozen meal directly into a preheating oven and cooking until heated through. Either way, I'll be happy that I planned ahead!

No comments:

Post a Comment