Sunday, January 17, 2010

Eggplant, ricotta, and walnut pasta recipe

It's usually not hard for me to avoid buying eggplant when it's not in season because if I can actually find any, it looks like it's been through a war.  For some reason the eggplant at the grocery store has been looking decent for the past few weeks, so I ignored the season-conscious part of my brain to try a recipe from this month's cookbook of the month.

This was fantastic!  I loved the combination of eggplant, ricotta, tomatoes, and walnuts.  The walnuts in particular provided a wonderful contrast in texture.  Surprisingly, the eggplant had a lot of flavor, but I'm sure that this dish will be even better with eggplant and tomatoes from your garden or local farm.

Eggplant, ricotta, and walnut pasta (adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health)
(Printable version)

1 medium eggplant, sliced into 1/2" slices
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
6 oz. brown rice fusili (or other chunky pasta)
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper, to taste
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup toasted, chopped walnuts

Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant with salt and let them sit for at least 30 min.  Then rinse slices and chop into cubes.  Heat the oil over medium-high in a large skillet, and then add the onions and salt and saute until tender.  Add the eggplant cubes and cook for 3 min.  Then add water, cover skillet, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 10 min, stirring occasionally.

While the eggplant is cooking, cook pasta according to package directions.  Combine ricotta, parmesan, parsley, cinnamon, and salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Drain pasta when it's done cooking, and add it to the ricotta mixture.  Stir well, and then add the eggplant mixture and the tomatoes.  Sprinkle walnuts on top.  Serves 4.

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