I am a huge fan of freezing things- especially soups and sauces. Because of their high moisture content, they reheat really well without drying out or changing texture.
While this recipe takes a relatively long time to make (for a sauce) you do end up with a lot of sauce, so if you are only cooking for one or two people, you’ll have enough sauce to freeze and use at a later time with a new batch of pasta. It’s a nice, meaty sauce (minus the meat!) and can easily fool picky eaters into eating more vegetables. After combining the sauce and the pasta, I like to add some mozzarella cheese and mix it in for a baked-ziti kind of dish.
Eggplant Romesco Rigatoni
From: Ripe by Cheryl Sternman Rule
Total Time: 1 hour and 9 minutes (by my count)
- 2 dried pasilla or ancho chile peppers (I don’t like heat, so I omitted these and was fine)
- 1 globe eggplant (about 1 pound, or 454g), unpeeled, cut in large dice (I used two smaller ones)
- 2 medium red bell peppers, cut in large dice
- 1/2 medium red onion, quartered
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus additional for drizzling
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (14.5-ounce, or 420g) can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1/3 cup (75g) whole almonds
- 1 slice country-style sourdough bread
- 1/2 cup (20g) minced fresh Italian parsley
- 1 pound freshly cooked rigatoni, 1/2 cup (118 ml) of pasta water reserved for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Set the dried chiles in a bowl and add boiling water just to cover. Weight with a small ramekin to keep the chiles submerged. Set aside.
- Place the eggplant, bell peppers, onion, and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Rub the seasonings in with your fingers. Spread the vegetables in a single layer.
- Dump the tomatoes and their juices in a medium baking dish. Set both the baking sheet and the baking dish on separate oven racks and roast until the eggplant and peppers have browned, about 30 minutes, stirring everything twice. Remove everything front eh oven and reduce the temperature to 350°F (175°C).
- Allow the eggplant mixture to cool for 5 minutes, then scrape into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Place the almonds and the bread on the same baking sheet and brush the bread on both sides with the remaining olive oil. Toast in the oven, flipping the bread halfway through, about 8 minutes total. Break the bread into pieces.
- While the bread and nuts cool, drain, stem, seed, and rough-chop the chiles and add them to the food processor. Add the nuts, bread, and tomatoes with any residual juices as well. Puree until smooth. Serve with hot rigatoni, adding a bit of pasta water (1 tablespoon at a time) to thin the sauce, if desired, and garnishing each portion with parsley and a final drizzle of olive oil.