rigatoni-with-eggplant-puree Recipes

rigatoni with eggplant puree

Seeing as I am never short on opinion on anything–most especially when it comes to many Food Network chefs that so often grace my television set, Alex calls the Sunday noontime shows my “stories”–I can’t believe I haven’t previously said a single word about Giada DeLaurentis. Let me redress that right now: I really want to like her–and no, not in the way that my husband does (busted!). I’ll see her cooking something and it always looks pretty good and like it could be tasty, but never, and I mean ever, do I feel any great need to cook the recipe for myself.

roasted eggplant, tomatoes

I think what it comes down to is that all of her recipes seem to be missing a little something, something that would make it more interesting. Like, you made pesto and added a swapped out a little mint for basil? Whoa. Where’d you come up with that! You add crushed almond cookies over an ice cream sundae to give it an “authentic Italian flavor”? I’m bowled over, here. But less sarcastically: does this actually improve it, or just make it different?

seasoning eggplant, tomatoes

But three times lately I have seen her make something and I really, really wanted to make it myself and when the most recent came in the format of a new (to me) pasta sauce that could be made fairly effortlessly, I caved and ended up with, well, the absolutely ugliest pasta dish to have graced the smitten kitchen (though it’s not the recipe’s, nor the recipe creator’s fault–pureed eggplant is just no beauty queen).

cubed-up eggplant

To make this, you roast eggplant with cherry tomatoes, whole garlic cloves, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes before pureeing it with more oil, fresh mint and a lot of pasta water to make a sauce that is mixed with parmesan (though this could easily be skipped if you wanted to make it vegan). The pasta is topped with toasted pine nuts. If you like these ingredients, I’m sure you’re drooling right now, as was I. And the results, they weren’t half-bad. It was not actually bland at all, which will hopefully bode well for the other recipes that have caught my eye, but I still have many suggestions for improvement, detailed below.

Still, I’m glad I experimented–the recipe is simple and fairly quick, the dish was tasty enough and seeing as I really wanted to give her recipe a fair shake, I’m glad I can now say I have. Now, who wants to hedge bets on that short rib tagliatelle?

rigatoni with eggplant puree

One year ago: Icebox Cake

Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree
Adapted from Giada DeLaurentis

I’ve made a few adjustments/suggestions to the original recipe. The eggplant is a total sponge and it seemed no matter how much pasta water I added, it was still lacking in sauciness. I think a higher proportion of tomatoes to the eggplant (which I have adjusted below) would have loosened up the sauce a bit, and perked up the flavor as well, as would a glug of vinegar or lemon juice at the end. Mixing it with ricotta was something many of the commenters on the Food Network site enjoyed, and I can’t imagine that would steer it in a bad direction.

1 small eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, whole
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 pound rigatoni pasta
1/4 cup torn fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Glug of balsamic or red wine vinegar or freshly-squeezed lemon juice (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Spread the vegetables out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven until the vegetables are tender and the eggplant is golden, about 35 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, place the pine nuts in a small baking dish. Place in the oven on the rack below the vegetables. Roast until golden, about 8 4 minutes (only do it for 8 if you want them nice and burnt, like mine). Remove from the oven and reserve.

Meanwhile, 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 pasta into a large bowl and reserve (at least) 2 cups of the cooking liquid.

Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor. Add the torn mint leaves and extra-virgin olive oil. Puree the vegetables.

Transfer the pureed vegetables to the bowl with the pasta and add the Parmesan. Stir to combine, adding the pasta cooking liquid 1/2 cup at a time until the pasta is saucy, as well as a glug of vinegar (optional). Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top and serve.

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168 comments on rigatoni with eggplant puree

  1. I feel similarly about Rachel Ray – she kind of annoys me, and mostly I’m not motivated to try her recipes, but the one I did try – Grilled Chicken Cutlet Parmigiana – was a big hit. I’ve actually had some pretty good luck with Giada’s recipes. I don’t think I’m quite the level of foodie that you are, but we really liked her Pork Chops Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Spinach and also her Lasagna Rolls, both of which we just tried recently. Ina Garten is the one that, for me, always has recipes that look good, but I haven’t had any luck with any of them that I’ve tried.

  2. Yes yes yes! You know, it’s not only guys who love Giada — my girls are just as googly-eyed when she and her tight sweaters grace the tv set. She’s the apple of every girl’s girlcrush. But she really can’t cook. Her recipes are so blah — far less exciting than her tight sweaters. I was starting to feel lonely in the not-a-giada-fan club — can I count you in?? :)

  3. Crazy, the husband and I just made this the other day. We liked it alright but while I loved the flavor of the eggplant puree by itself, it didn’t make much of a sauce for the pasta. Will have to try your adjustments.

  4. Sue

    As always your pics are great. I devised an eggplant sauce this weekend for a vegetarian. It wasn’t ‘pretty’, but tasted wonderful, esp with a dab of fresh pesto mixed in at the table.
    BTW, while I was searching for a beggars purse recipe, I found this blog that I thought you might like if you haven’t seen her pics and recipes. – http://annesfood.blogspot.com/

  5. I have mixed feelings about Giada, too. At first, semi-round girl approach (“don’t trust a skinny cook!) dictated that I be wary of her. Plus, she seemed a bit down all the time. But she’s slowly winning me over. When I saw her make this recipe, I think I turned a corner toward maybe liking her. Is there something wrong with me that I don’t think that dish is unattractive?

    But Rachel Ray – appreciating “EVOO” and/or “Choup” is a bridge that I cannot cross!

  6. mb

    those are some seriously toasted pine nuts! I’m always afraid mine will burn so I never let them get too dark.
    your photos are fantastic. just came across this blog yesterday.

  7. NoMoreCable

    I always had the same reactions to almost everything I saw on the Food Network. Then we moved, and now we no longer have cable, and you know who I miss the most? The sportscasters from ESPN!

    But seriously, I have only tried one Giada “recipe” (it’s so simple it can hardly be called a recipe), and that was the prosciutto wrapped asparagus. I highly doubt it was a Giada original, but it was amazing!

    wait, are you are vegetarian? I just realized I’ve never seen meat on your blog…

  8. deb

    Kirsten — Nah, I think it’s just that you didn’t see the backed-up view of the whole brown, spattery bowl!

    Mb — Ditto, I’m usually more cautious but I have this thing where I like to follow recipe to the letter the first time I make it and, though it shouldn’t have surprised me, the eight minutes she suggested burned the bejesus out of them and those were the last I had in the apartment.

  9. This sounds similar to a Barefoot Contessa recipe I made recently, which was delicious. But hers wasn’t a sauce, it was a dip. You roast eggplant, onions, peppers and garlic, then pulse it in the food processor with a tablespoon of tomato paste. It was surprisingly, amazingly delicious. Was wonderful as a dip, and I’m also dreaming of it as a pita sandwich with a slice of cheese on top. It looks to me like the Contessa’s recipe might be a better use for your roasted eggplant.

  10. RA

    “Oh, Giada.” That’s the war cry at our house whenever we see yet another low-cut top and a tie-around-the-waist apron. It does not make sense. Plus, every time she smiles, I feel like I see like fifty-odd teeth. And yet, I still watch. Here’s to feeling ill when she loses all of her baby weight in a matter of seconds.

  11. i made something similar recently thats called Sicilian Pasta in my blog. I didn’t puree the eggplant, I just sauteed (can also be roasted) until its super, super soft and then once you stir in the crushed tomatoes, the eggplant just magically disintigrates into a puree-like sauce. mmm…

    and i totally agree that giada isn’t as creative as she’d like to think she is. i saw the crushed cookies on the ice cream episode too. yeah….real inventive.

  12. The only Giada recipe that I feel strongly enough about to make regularly is this one for her lemon ricotta cookies. They are, quite simply, some of the best cookies IN THE UNIVERSE. Seriously. I made them yet again this weekend and planned to blog about them but they got eaten by our gaming group before I could take a picture. They go fast.

  13. Wow, that looks like a plate full of late summer. Bring it on. It seems like we here in the cold white North aren’t the only ones in the midst of the Winter Blah’s! If this doesn’t get us all feeling a little lighter of mood, I’m not sure what will, baring a week in the Caribean!

  14. Sarah

    I saw that episode as well and really wanted to give it a try! Great ideas for improving it. I would love to try it now. I actually just made the short rib tagliatelle a week ago for Sunday dinner. Instead of using the short ribs, however, I opted for a cheaper cut of meat. The end result was very good I thought, however, I wonder the cut of meat I tried was what made it slightly tougher than I imagined. Anyway, I think it’s worth trying, and I am going to try it another time with a different cut. You’re blog is wonderful! I can’t help but check it every day! Thanks!!!

  15. Kat

    I like Giada, and regularly peek into her “Everyday Italian” cookbook – but I am slightly frightened by her lollipop head. I was mildly suprised when that hack Rachael Ray beat her when they did Iron Chef together!

    For being an ugly dish, you still got a lovely shot out of it. I’m in awe of your photographic skilz.

  16. Andrea

    Did you ever notice that her cooking show is shot more like an art film?
    I do own her everyday Italian cookbook and the citrus biscotti, the tuna and tomato sauce and the chicken paremsan (she doesn’t bread it but lightly browns the chicken cutlets in an aromatic oil and then bakes it with a bit of cheese and sauce) are big hits here. A good friend swears by her lemon spaghetti.

    Deb — have you ever considered polling your readers about their opinions on Food Network “personalities”. I’ll bet you get some strong responses.

    Thanks for a beautiful blog.

  17. I think that on a station called the FOOD Network, chicken breasts should be getting more airtime than Giada’s. Seriously, the tiny, cleavage bearing tops are way distracting, even for women without girl-crushes on the pseudo chef.

    I tried the Turkey and Cranberry Ravioli from her “Thanksgiving for Two” show. It was kind of a novelty to have Thanksgiving pasta, but not exactly stellar. I think my own touches made a would-be bland recipe into something more delightful.

  18. I like Giada. I’m a little concerned that her head is too big for her body, but that’s possibly because I’m envious her waist is the size of my ankle, but I digress.

    I love her garlic chicken and I admit, when I see her show on Food Network I’m compelled to watch it, but it annoys the jeebus out of me when she’s chatting away in her ‘ole American accent and launches into the pronounciation of brusketta and reekohta. I know she’s Italian — and I am not one to talk about having a stupid accent — but when Mario Batali pronounces the same words, it just doesn’t seem as bad.

    I guess it could be worse: Giada could say BAM! all the time.

  19. Belinda

    This sounds yummy…but I actually want to comment on the pumpkin muffin recipe you posted. I found it a few weeks ago when I googled recipes for pumpkin muffins. It is mmmmm, so good. I never thought to sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top before I baked the muffins. I added a teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 cup chopped pecans to the original recipe. Anyway, I know it was posted awhile ago but they were soooo yummy I just had to share. Thanks!

  20. Joy

    Giada… oh Giada. I’ve come to resent the fake orgasm she has at the end of every show, tasting her own food. I mean… come on. Orgasm aside, I do like how she puts ricotta and mascarpone into already delicious things like whipped cream and cupcakes. I’ll forgive her the fake moans and groans for that.

  21. Lola

    I met Giada in person and she is really very very beautiful in person and couldn’t be nicer. She tooks so much time to pose for pictures (at a local Williams-Sonoma) and sign autographs. I was very pleased that I waited to meet her.

    I have made her Baked Rigatoni with Bechamel sauce (good) and her Pepper, Sausage, and Onion recipe…it was a recipe for Christmas Eve and everyone requested the recipe. It was delicious.

  22. BMK

    Thanks for the review, I have been wanting to try this recipe. I made the short ribs with tagliatelle and they were delicious. You won’t be disappointed.

  23. Cookies and Milk

    May I first say that I LOVE your blog. With that said, what is with food-bloggers and their snobbery when it comes to the Food Network?

  24. Ashley

    I don’t have a problem with Rachel Ray, in theory. I think there are a lot more working parents putting real food on their families’ tables because of the 30-minute phenom. If it takes EVOO and STOUP & SAMMIES to get Taco Bell and Hot Dogs off America’s dinner menu, that’s fine with me. In action, she’s annoying.

    On the other hand, do we really want a network full of personality and quirk free celebri-chefs? Gale Gand makes pretty things, but she’s beyond bland.

    I really like Giada, and her recipes are sure-fire pleasers at my house. I like putting out simple, easy to prepare meals that (to me & mine) look & taste much more complicated than they really were. It’s all a matter of preference. However, I almost always adjust recipes as I go, first time or 100th time.

    Giada’s Italian Wedding Soup is delicious! It’s garlicky, soothing, full of greens, and has replaced even the idea of Chicken Soup in my house.

  25. Oh I enjoy watching Giada – especially when she travels and went to Greece! I also really enjoy Ina Garten’s food – but she’s hard to look at these days. She’s gotten even heavier and so unhealthy looking! I really enjoy all your posts and recipe suggestions. You get my creativity flowing and are making me a better home cook! Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!!

  26. deb

    Cookies and Milk — It’s a good, fair question and I think a lot of it is just because they’re out there, telling people how to cook and often, the recipes (and in several cases, the suggestions of processed, dubiously honest, i.e. advertised ingredients) are terrible. But I find that I really want to like them, I want to be proven wrong but I’m an optimist like that. That said, you won’t catch me making any Kwanzaa Cakes.

  27. Giada is certainly not one of my favorites, but she does have some good recipes every once in a while. I made her giandua souffles recently, and they were wonderful.

  28. LyB

    My better half and I call Giada “donut girl” because in one of the first episodes we saw she was making donuts and she put them in a brown bag to coat them with sugar. She then proceeded to shake said bag (and everything else there was to shake for that matter) with all her might, smiling away, showing every one of her shiny teeth! Funny! Anyway, for an “ugly” recipe you sure managed to make it look good :)

  29. C

    I’m gonna admit it – I love her! Love! If I could write my o’s with little hearts right now I totally would. I’ve never been disappointed with anything I’ve cooked of hers and a few times I’ve even been really impressed. Now, Sandra Lee on the other hand.

  30. demelza

    Giada looks a little foolish with the clingy, cleavage bearing sweaters, I agree. I’ve rarely seen her do anything earth shattering and her cookbooks are definitely novice level. BUT – I did follow her recipe for Roman Style Chicken a while back and the result was excellent. Quite possibly the most delicious Italian chicken dish I’ve ever made. (I am Italian, and come from a long line of great cooks, many of them professional.) Worth a try.

  31. I agree with much of what has been said in the previous comments, but I still like Giada. She is not nearly as annoying as some of the other FN personalities, and she doesn’t make up stupid words (sammies, yummo, to name a few). Anyone who uses mascarpone as much as she does is all right in my book!

  32. Moira

    This is my first time visiting your lovely website and I must say it was inspiring! In fact I was so inspired I went right to the store after work to pick up an eggplant to use in this recipe. I used a small (but not japanese) eggplant and the whole pint of tomatoes and the result was a delicious creamy pale red sauce due to the juice of the tomatoes (the consitency reminded me of a thick vodka sauce). Totally Delicious! Your hunch about the porportions was right on!! (and I didn’t even have to use any of the pasta water.)

  33. I really like the idea of roasting everything before hand, but I’m usually disappointed with most eggplant pasta and/or Giada recipes, so I probably wouldn’t be the best judge… though my mother and sister would love me to make this for them!

    There’s a broccoli rabe, sausage, and cavatelli recipe of Giada’s that I like, though over the years I’d tweaked it so much that I don’t know if it even resembles the recipe anymore.

  34. floridagal

    You just read my mind. I have been planning to make some pasta dish but didn’t have any recipes. I am going to try this and let you know. This will be my first step into the world of making pasta :)
    I brought rotini pasta the other day. Do you have a ‘yummy deb’ recipe for that?
    Thank you

  35. Kate

    I love Giada. When I was teaching myself to cook, her recipes were a godsend– they weren’t fussy and they always came out as I expected them to. Nothing ever ended with tears and disaster. I’d like to think that I’m more adventurous now, but her pork loin with fig and port sauce is my staple for Christmas, and I still always add a pinch of cinnamon to my carbonara.

  36. Jenya

    Ech.. Giada Delaurentis >_<
    I’ve found I can’t watch her without staring at the Enormous Jaw Of Doom – she might have nice features otherwise, but I could never look past the Jaw (and that pretentious pronounce of hers) and ogle her in earnest, even if I am in the appropriate camp to do so.
    As far as her cooking goes… I don’t have much respect for anyone whose crowning moment in the kitchen strikes when the dish is doused in butter, salt, sugar, bacon or cheese. It isn’t hard! Millions of years of evolution taught us to seek salty, fatty and sweet things, but the widespread belief that ‘bacon makes everything delicious’ makes me wretch.
    So I don’t know about the tagliatelle, though, the lady lost me at ‘1/2 cup pancetta’
    – not that I have much against smoked and cured pig, but half a cup???!
    le sigh
    The rest of Food Network, other than the atrocities a la Sandra Lee, I’ve trusted a few Alton Brown recipes and never regretted them (I have yet to wean my SO off his chocolate chip cookies, even after my conversion to the Blue Chip ones) and while I admit him to be annoying and over the top at times, he’s nothing when compared to her!
    She makes me forget any enmity I have for cured pig, moreover, she makes me want to stick my head into a live one as to avoid seeing and hearing…
    But that’s a whole different network *wipes forehead*
    I love eggplant. No, I love, love, love eggplant, but you can’t have eggplant sans bell pepper – it’s not right.

  37. I think you managed to make it look good, or maybe you just angled the photo really well. ;-) Either way, looks and sounds good to me!

    But yea, aside from the parade of mediocrity that is the Food Network, the true trifecta of poor cooking they run really gets me riled up (Sandra Lee, Rachel Ray, Paula “HEY YALL ADD SUMMO’ BUTTA!” Deen)…e.g. how to make home-made salsa: buy a jar of salsa, pour in dish–that’s semi-homemade! >:o But don’t get me started…

  38. Sue

    Ha ha! I think it’s very funny that you’ve gotten so many responses to this entry. I now receive your updates via feedblitz, so I’m afraid I’m late adding my two cents.
    At our house “Everyday Italian” is known as “Cooking with Cleavage”. Coined by my husband. We know what he’s paying attention to! I haven’t tried a lot of her recipes, but the mini frittatas I made were tasty and enjoyed by all, even though they may not have been particularly originial.

  39. Betsy

    Wow, there is some serious animosity out there about celebrity chefs! Come on kids – take a chill pill (yes, I’m a child of the 80s). I guess I just think there is no reason to take their personalities so seriously. Yeah, they have some annoying quirks but I agree with the earlier comment that you need some personality in the delivery or else there’d be no inspiration to try anything. My god daughter(age 6) LOVES Rachel Ray. She wants to watch her and cook like her and she understands that healthy food comes from the kitchen not the golden arches. There’s more value to these people than their receipes. At least, they provide more wholesome inspiration than typical Hollywood celebrities. Stepping down from the soap box now . . .

  40. Like so many others, I feel the same way about Giada. Also, I’m a little frightened by her giant jaw and teeth, and the camera work and music on her show are a little too similar to actual, non-food porn with the close-ups of a tomato being washing and the bowm-chicka-bowm-bowm. But, you usually can’t go all that wrong with a good eggplant-tomato combo; I did one a week or two ago from Claudia Roden’s Middle Eastern cookbook that was also ugly but yummy, and this one seems even easier and quicker.

    I’m also willing to put $5 on the short ribs being mucho tasty.

    Us vs. Food

  41. Finn

    I, too, find Giada’s recipes boring and bland. While I will refrain from commenting on her looks (because my mother told me never EVER to comment on something people have no control over) I will comment on the cleavage. It is so effing annoying. The thing is, it is a conscious effort by her handlers, because if you look at her earlier shows, there is no cleavage. Her tops are getting lower and lower, soon she will be cooking topless!!!

  42. Okay, this has nothing to do w/ Deb’s recipe, but I have to say it: Jane M, I LOVE Ina Garten! I know she’s plump and nearly everything she cooks contains two sticks of butter or 1/2 a cup of olive oil, but I think she’s adorable. I mean, if I’m being honest, I think she’s kind of sexy (she has the best skin, a great manicure and a sultry laugh). And I love her food, even though her knife skills make me a little sad (it’s hard to watch her and Jamie Oliver back-to-back).

  43. Caroline

    I admit it, I love Giada. She’s just so charming and adoreable. Her food is simple, but that’s why the show is called “Everyday Italian” and not “Gourmet Italian.” Being Italian myself, I know that traditional Italian food is very basic in ingredients and preparation.

    Truth be told, I watch the Food Network for entertainment and occasional ideas, but rarely make a recipe from one of the shows, so maybe Giada’s cleavage is more a priority for me than her food is.

  44. I’ve watched Giada’s show many times, though have never attempted one of her recipes. I may have a hyper-active imagination (no, this comment is not about cleavage), but I can, in my mind, “taste” a recipe by hearing or reading the ingredients, and i agree with most of you, in that her recipes need another level to make them something to write home about.

    But while we’re on the subject, I wouldn’t kick her out of the kitchen based on her attire! If you’ve got it, flaunt it! What’s the harm?

  45. deb

    I actually want to jump it with my own discomfort with the appearance-related comments. I would hate for this site to be part of the relentless cultural dogpile that is judging women by their looks first and foremost. I had hoped to just focus on the recipes: do they work, do I recommend them, what have others’ experiences been?

  46. I’ve made the short-rib tagliatelle and so I can personally vouch that it is very tasty. It’s not at all bland, and the chocolate does add a lovely depth. My only qualm is that the sauce is a bit watery – which can be fixed by reduction. It’s another ‘ugly’ dish, but real comforting to tuck into. Give it a shot though, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  47. Sunny

    I’m delighted to have just discovered your site! I absolutely ADORE eggplant, and can’t wait to try this. I think the modifications you’ve made seem good, although I’m wondering why there are no herbs of any kind suggested here. It seems to me, perhaps some dried basil vs. the mint might be interesting, but who knows.

    As for Giada, cleavage notwithstanding, I’ve got to admit to loving her Lasagna Rolls as a good basic recipe which can be easily augmented to include ingredients of your choice. Others of hers I have tried do seem to be lacking that certain “something” that would make them truly special. Thanks for sharing this one!

  48. Al T

    OK, I watch Giada occasionally,and while it’s difficult to avoid the glam, I really enjoy her style of Italian cooking. It’s down to earth and not overly complicated. Most of all, it’s tasty stuff. The short ribs pasta is a killer…sometimes I look more forward to the left-overs of short ribs with pasta, than the the short ribs themselves. And the discussion about celebrity chefs can be a short one…don’t let style get in the way of the substance.

  49. :)

    I just turn 52 and feel I’m young at heart. I also have two grown children and don’t understand today’s generation of clevage. Most of the younger women love to wear low-cut neckline and show their clevage, not only when they dress formal, but with their everyday casual wardrobe, i.e., T-shirts. I’m also seeing a lot of butt cracks as well. I have two neices that loves to show their clevage and my 30-year daughter, I told her not to dress like that in my presence. Now I see Rachel Ray showning her clevage on her new segments and a couple of her new talk show. What happened to Rachel…she used to be pretty conservative, but I guess she’s changing.

    I also used to love watching Giada, but she’s getting stale. I got tired of her after seeing her on the Next Food Network Star because she had that “fame gotten to her head” attitude.

  50. Courtney

    Maybe a little red wine to make the sauce saucier? I will definitely be trying this, probably with whole wheat rigatoni and a little less oil to up the health factor.

  51. PC

    High Five Alex on getting busted.

    Giada is an amateur in the Food Er0t1ca department when compared to Nigella.

    I’m with Mike on Sandra Lee and Paula Dean. I can’t believe people cook with Velveeta. And as for the Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding with Butter Rum Sauce, it was just wrong.

  52. Sue

    I rarely miss her show (the new ones, not all the weekday repeats) and her recipes ARE getting a bit bland and repetitive, but I do, in principle, love her. She seems to add ricotta to most of her sauces these days. Frankly, I’d rather add cream and often do.

    The BEST eggplant recipe ever is this recipe of Ina’s: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_23515,00.html
    I have made it dozens of times and it’s fabulous.

  53. jeannie

    I guess I have the opposite of the “never trust a skinny cook” perspective – I have a difficult time getting interested in cooking shows hosted by fat, unhealthy looking people, even if I know they’re fabulous chefs, even if they’re Iron Chefs…yet even so, Giada doesn’t usually inspire me, and I do wonder how she stays that size, given what she cooks.

    I love the shows where she ends sitting around a table with her skinny fabulous girlfriends eating insane amounts of pasta and cheese and ice cream…

    I think the fact that she started as a food stylist is telling.
    The appearances of things are an art in themselves.

  54. Nina

    Wow, I have recently discovered your site and really enjoy it. Beautiful photos, interesting content.

    As for Giada, I do watch her but have a hard time with the camera ogling her – how many times can we watch her wash her hands and who smiles that much, I mean, come on. I’m not surprised to learn that she started as a food stylist: so many of her comments about her creations are about how “pretty” they look, or how nice the color combination works. Like she’s picking out which shoes to go with an outfit.

    Skinny cooks, fat cooks, drunk cooks, slutty cooks – – all that really matters is what the food tastes like. If it looks good, too, that’s a bonus. Personally, I’d trust a lot of these personality cooks more if just once in a while they tasted the finished dish and said, hmm, needs some salt! How many of us (and I bet there are a bunch of good cooks out there; I like to think I’m one) tastes every single one of our dishes and says “perfect!” or “awesome!” or, god forbid “yummo!”

  55. Erinn Johnson

    This looks great. I will give it a try next week. Over the past two weeks I have made several of your recipes and they have all been hits, which is some what a challenge, trying to please 4 kids from 8 to 3 years old and a husband.

  56. To be perfectly honest, I’m one of those rare creatures- a food blogger who hardly ever watches Food Network. That said when I do happen to see one of Giada’s programs I think most of what she makes looks good, but I would agree that it looks fairly basic. By basic I mean something that would be appealing to me, as a novice cook, but probably not to anyone looking for a challenge. I’ve only made one Giada recipe, which I actually found through another blog, but I made it with my personal adjustments from the get-go. I do really like the recipe though, so I wouldn’t mind trying more of hers.

    I personally am not crazy about mint. Do you think this would be good with oregano perchance?

  57. deb

    I think you could definitely use oregano, but if it is fresh, I might use a little less because I understand it to have a very strong flavor (I haven’t cooked with it, yet). Basil would also work in this. However, I was very wary of the mint flavor and it was subtle, and went surprisingly well with the eggplant without dominating, if that helps you give it more consideration.

  58. It’s always interesting to roast vegetables — the flavors come out in a completely different way. I may try this dish.

    My few cents about Giada — she’s a successful young woman, who, according to many, looks good. Good for her.

  59. cookie

    Most of the Food Network so called chefs are entirely lame including Giada, the annoying Rachel Ray, the sickenly sweet Paula Deen not to mention the helmet haired blond I don’t even know her name.

  60. santadad

    Just a side note: Your Dental Hygienist has been a daily lurker on this site, and is absolutely in love with it. She doesn’t miss a day. She said she would love to see some more kosher recipes. I told her, “Improvise.” :-)

  61. I’ve never really watched Everyday Italian but caught an episode randomly. And I have to say: try Giada’s Butternut Vanilla Risotto.

    My husband is lukewarm on risottos but I love them so he’s tried more than a few variations. He would not stop raving about the butternut vanilla one. I honestly had a brain block, always preferring savory to sweet myself, but it was actually amazing.

  62. N

    Ha! I busted my boyfriend for the exact same ogling.
    Although my opinion on Giada tacks pretty closely to yours, Deb, I still like her a lot better than some of her Food Network peers—to paraphrase Anthony Bourdain, she actually knows her way around a kitchen. Since the Food Network is focused on peddling aspirational products anyway, at least there are figures on it like Ina Garten, Alton Brown and Giada; people who take a more considered approach to cooking. (I mean, what Sandra Lee does is basically glorified box-ripping and can-opening.)

    That being said, I do love Giada’s cornbread panzanella, and that short ribs recipe is giving me ideas for this weekend. …

  63. jane

    Although I’m not a big fan of Giada, I have make the Short Ribs with Tagliatelle twice.
    For some reason that recipe appealed to me as well! I think it’s definitely worth giving a try. Rating: 4 out of 5.

  64. Lisa

    I tried this last night and it was wonderful. Thank you. Your pictures inspired me to make it. I added a spoonful of creme fraiche at the end and it came out perfect. I also didnt puree all the tomatoes and eggplant and left some chunks in the sauce. Cant wait to see what you make next.

  65. Lauren

    This looks amazing! I definitely have to give it a try :) Re the short rins tagliatelle… I’ve made it twice: Once as written and once without dredging the short ribs in flour… The second time was a million times better. I sprinkled a LITTLE arrowroot on them and rubbed it in with the salt and pepper and the sauce ended up with a much better consistency!

  66. christa

    Made this last night….apprehensively as I am not a huge eggplant fan but it sounded good and relatively good for you. Loved it!! I used basil instead of mint and asiago instead of parmesean because it was what I had. Fabulous..I left the sauce a little thick….stick to your ribs thick. The red wine comment above sounds like it may be a nice addition . I enjoy Giada’s show…although she does seem to be out of balance…

  67. Lisa

    Normally I don’t love any of the Food Networks’ folks either. However, I tried Giada’s sea bass fusion thing, and it is now a staple item in our household. We use whatever white fish is available. VERY good!

    Oh, also Tyler Florence’s polenta with raisins and pine nuts kicks butt, served in ramekins every time we make veal chops.

    But otherwise we’re in agreement. :)

  68. Cookies and Milk

    Deb you’re hilarious! I don’t think I’ll be trying Sandra Lee’s Kwanzaa Cakes any time soon!!! As for “Everyday Italian” recipes I’ve tried and loved:
    Sea Bass alla Fiorentina (love this one!) http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_34109,00.html
    Ginger Sea Bass over Wilted Greens (are you seeing a pattern? ;)
    Lemon Spaghetti

  69. demelza

    Deb – The recipe calls for cherry tomatoes, but your photo shows grape tomatoes, which are different in flavor as well as juiciness. I’d imagine that might have affected the result.

  70. Carla Hinkle

    I made it and it was delicious — though I might cut down the red pepper flakes a bit. With one teaspoon the hotness risks overwhelming the eggplant and tomatoes.

    Love the blog, keep it up.

  71. Kelly

    Deb – Thank you for this site. I’ve just been steered here, and am so enjoying your way with food and words. There is fried chicken in my (very) near future.
    As to Giada, I agree with your point as to her dishes typically lacking something to set them apart, but I do find her show a nice source for ideas (I made a modratley successful re-tooled version of the spicy bean and veg soup from last week). And really, her ways are not at all offensive –unlike some of her collegues at the food network. I had some time on my hands last spring and did this…


  72. Anneke

    Deb, thanks for your response to all the appearance-related comments. They were making me uncomfortable as I was reading them. I find the constant close-ups on Everyday Gourmet off-putting, but I’ve enjoyed some of the recipes.
    Your eggplant is on tonight’s menu!
    Thanks for the great blog!

  73. Oh, that looks good. I love roasted eggplant and roasted vegetables in general on pasta. I’ve never watched Giada, as I’m not a TV person. But her name scares me… a little too close to giardia, which is a water-borne intestinal parasite. I can’t quite get beyond that. I’ll still try this recipe, though.

  74. Gaida can’t possibly eat her own cooking–she is so scrawny!
    I’m going to make this for dinner tonight. But I think roasted porchini mushrooms would make a good addition. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  75. kastinkerbell

    For somebody purporting to be an Italian cooking expert with an Italian mother, she sure does pronounce a lot of Italian words incorrectly (per a native speaker I had as a teacher). She also repeats a lot of bogus cooking “theory.” I generally like to take ideas from her and “fix” them.

    Give me Mario any day.

  76. I happen to love Giada…and being married to an Italian, I know her food is authentic and truly “everyday” Italian cooking. On the ether hand, I cannot watch Ina…I like Rachel and have tried several of her recipes. I love to watch Paula…but couldn’t cook and eat her recapes because of my dietary restrictions.

  77. I tried it with one portobella mushroom, and 1/2 pkg dried porchini’s. I also cut the red pepper in half, and sadly that was all I could taste. My husband said “Is this from cooks illustrate?” When I said no, he just shook his head sadly, and looked at me in knowing way…
    I’m going to try it again, and only put in a 1/4 of a teaspoon of the pepper flakes–its just too easy to give up on!

  78. Gillian

    I made this last night – and didn’t really taste the mint. I was bummed about that. It was a bit too spicy. I don’t think I’ll make it again… but your site is great and I’ll be back! G

  79. Pam

    My husband and I both like Giadi and it is confusing to me why someone would or would-not cook a recipe because of who presents it on Food Network. Mario B, seems like a butt, but his food looks and sounds wonderful and that is why I try his recipes; sometimes (his recipes are a bit overwhelming at times). As for this recipe, since I can’t eat gluten I always look for sauces that do well over rice, and this one is great. I do add onions and it makes it a bit sweeter.

  80. fay

    We just had this for dinner and it was WONDERFUL! and easy. Thanks for the idea! I added 1/4 of an onion with the veggies for roasting, just because I seem to find it impossible to cook without them. I will definitely make this again – I was just trying to think of summertime garden-fresh adaptations to make.

  81. Della

    I have a sink full of dishes, but my dishes will wait until I post this message. I sometimes like to cook ahead for the entire week, so I just completed this recipe. I doubled the eggplant puree mixture just in case my pasta needs more sauce since I’m using 100% whole-grain with flax PENNE pasta (not rigatoni). I followed the recipe exactly as written, except I added 2 teaspooons dried Herbes de Provence. Transfer the eggplant tomato mixture into two shallow pans and roast as directed. I only needed 4 tablespoons of pasta water to thin the sauce out as I was tossing the pasta wth the sauce. It turns out that I have a enough sauce for 1-1/2 pounds of pasta, but I can use the extra sauce with pita chips. TASTE IS FABULOUS1 IT IS VERY, VERY GOOD! I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS RECIPE TO ANYONE WHO LOVE EGGPLANTS. YOU CAN HARDLY TASTE THE MINT SO STICK WITH MINT.

  82. I ♥ Giada, and not in an altogether innocent way. Let’s just say that I would gladly be the filling in a Giada and Nigella sandwich. And I’m not even into chicks! Dammit, Food Network gets me every time …

    I agree though that her recipes are simple at best, but usually look downright delicious. This one has got me cravin’, and for once I might venture out from Rachael Ray’s vodka-creme pasta. Now there’s a woman I would *not* like to meet between the sheets, but that’s a whole ‘nother story!

    By the way, I love your blog. Cheers! :-)

  83. I made this tonight. It was quite good. I tried adding some balsalmic with the puree… I’d use red wine vinegar or lemon next time — it was a bit too sweet and not bright enough. I also might only puree half of the eggplant/tomato/roasted goodness, to end up with a chunkier sauce. I used brandywine heirloom tomatoes from my garden instead of the cherry version, and only added a bit more than half a cup of the pasta water to get a good sauce.

  84. Verydeliciousveg

    There I was surfing for dinner ideas and WHAM! I already had roasted eggplant and roasted cherry tomatoes the needed to be eaten soon. I threw a few garlic cloves into the oven to roast, boiled some pasta heated the leftover eggplant and tomatoes, then spun it up with the roasted garlic cloves…. toasted a hand full of pine nuts and topped it all with some shaved parm and some minced basil from the garden…. OH YUMMY!!!!

    THANK YOU for the inspiration!!!

    PS your oatmeal raisin cookies were a huge hit at my office.


  85. rose

    Made this last night – yummy with your changes. I did use red wine vinegar and I roasted a head of garlic in the skin and used more than a few cloves (also used pecorino romano (sp?) and forgot the pine nuts). My puree was a bit too pureed, next time I might only puree half like another reviewer said…a chunkier sauce might be good. Overall, very good. Thanks for the post!

  86. grace

    So delicious! Didn’t have cherry tomatoes so pureeing with canned stewed tomatoes worked fine (although I’d imagine roasted cherry tomatoes would be even tastier!) Loved the burnt goodness of the pine nuts … didn’t think it would make a big difference but together with the freshly grated parmesan, it really brought the meal together. Thanks for the post!

  87. Rachel P.

    I was a bit unsure about eggplant, but now I’m sold! As my husband says, this is possibly one of the best pasta dishes we’ve ever eaten. The mint and pine nuts are definitely the key ingredients, that take a bland-looking dish into a whole other world!

  88. Jennifer

    I made this using the only tomatoes I had on hand, which were two Roma’s. Rather than puree it though, I left the roasted mixture chunky. I sauteed a pan of ground turkey with chopped red onions, and added a can of diced tomatoes. Mixed everything together and tossed with penne. It was so delish I had it for lunch and dinner the next day. My coworker said it may be the best thing I’ve ever made! The eggplant was incredible, both caramelized and smoky. Thanks again Deb!

  89. Grace

    Made this tonight – absolutely fantastic! I used balsamic vinegar at the end – I think I’d like to try with lemon juice next time.

  90. Toni

    Nice call about stopping the dissing of female appearances. But I really wanted to write and comment on your comment in the first paragraph: “(busted!)” I say, that just had me on the floor! Perfectly subtle, heehee!
    Oh, and eggplant being my top fav veggie, this looks/sounds much like my eggplant stew (although I use cumin and coriander as well) that I make probably every two weeks, not because I’m boring but because I love it so. I’ve been too insecure to share it with friends, though, because of the unprettiness of it but maybe will jump out of that box now.
    Always the best blog, Deb.

  91. Kelly

    I made this last night and it was great! Very easy and tasty. I did not have pine nuts in the house so I simply left them out. I also substituted parsley for the mint because it was what I already had. It made plenty of sauce to generously coat a full box of pasta. Looking forward to making this in the summer when the garden is full of eggplants, tomatoes and mint!

  92. Oh my goodness.
    I was looking for a different recipe and happened on to this page!
    This looks amazing.
    I’m going to have to make it. But I think I will actually substitute the lemon juice at the end for a bit of gin, and a glug of heavy cream in the food processor…
    I’m looking forward to how this will be…
    But maybe I’ll try the original first. Either way, I’m sure I’ll be in heaven.
    Thanks for this wonderful idea.

  93. Elisa Nadeau

    I made this tonight- thought it was great. I used fatter tomatoes (Caponata? Or something) and found the sauce quite tasty and juicy without adding the vinegar or lemon.

  94. Adrianne

    Holy moly! I read the comments to find out ahead of time how to make the sauce a little “saucier”. Since all the comments seem to be related to the Food Network, and not the recipe, I solved the issue by adding two (drained, juice saved and added later) cans of diced tomatoes to the roasting pan.

    Re Food network celebrities: If Giada or whomever else bugs you, what do you expect? These are celebrities selling personality, not chefs selling recipes. Going to the Food Network for great culinary expertise is like reading Cosmo for “feminism”. They are products, nothing more.

  95. Kelly B

    I made this recipe last week and it didn’t turn out as I’d hoped. The vinegar couldn’t break up the gluey texture that the eggplant seemed to create. Maybe I didn’t roast the veggies enough – or maybe I didn’t salt the pasta water enough. This one wasn’t a winner for me. :(

  96. This was delicious! The only thing I changed is that I used four large chopped tomatoes and some red onion also went in the roasting pan. The tomatoes provided plenty of juice to make the sauce, so much so I didn’t need any pasta water.

    I think this also could be tasty with some crumbled feta…maybe next time

  97. auspish32

    Oh my goodness. This was soo delicous. I don’t get why you think this is ugly. The eggplant has a meatiness to it so the pureed product looks like a bolognese sauce, which equals delicious and decadent, but not ugly. I always forget to save my pasta water and ended up just adding a little extra lemon juice combined with the mint, this gave the dish a subtle brightness. I didn’t mind that it was a a thick sauce..well more of a “coating” as my roommate said. Either way it was a great dinner accompanied with a bottle of TJ’S Tommollo. Thanks again for a great dish. I just love your archives!

  98. I know that this was posted millions of years ago, but I had stumbled on it by clicking the random button and it was begging to be cooked. I thought this was delicious…and not too terribly ugly. :)

    I have had the non-saucy sauce problem before, but not so with this one. I used an immersion blender to blend the eggplant and tomatoes, then I added about a cup & a half of pasta water. It seems like so much, but it turned out the be the perfect consistency. I also lightly drained the pasta so there was still a little water in the rigatoni.

    And I upped the garlic because I am an addict. My shame won’t allow me to tell you how many cloves I ended up roasting!

    Thank you for the recipe! Very, very good.

  99. I also have to add that the taste of the roasted eggplant made me want baba ganouj so badly I can’t stand it! I’ve already purchased two more eggplants to roast tomorrow. ;)

  100. Eliza

    This isnt much of a review since I changed so much, but… it was a great easy meal. We skipped the pine nuts, used some cherry tomatoes (yellow, red, and orange) plus a regular tomato and quite a few eggplants of varying varieties. After roasting it was all too pretty still to puree so we skipped that step… just tossed with the pasta and served with parm, skipping the vinegar as well. I think I’d like to try it again pureed and served with feta, maybe over israeli cous cous. Yum! As always, thank you!

  101. Gaby B

    I just made this tonight, with a half an eggplant I had almost forgotten about, adding red and yellow bell pepper to substitute the missing half. I didn’t have any pine nuts, so I toasted almonds slices, and threw these into the processor with the veges. I’ve recently switched to whole wheat pasta so tonight’s sauce went over whole wheat spaghetti. It seems the cup and a half of pasta water, (as Caitlin mentione earlier) is the key. It was delicious!

  102. As someone who doesn’t like eggplant, I love this recipe. I made it with the ricotta last night and it was such a good idea. I’d say I put in about a 1/4 or 1/3 cup. I also replaced the mint with basil leaves because I was out of mint, and it was also delicious — although it didn’t have the fresh feeling of mint. So good!

  103. Olivia

    Delicious. Used standard, yellow tomatoes and basil because that is what I had. I think using standard tomatoes (cut into wedges when roasting) makes it saucy and not too dry.

  104. I made this recipe with minor adjustments: I substituted basil for mint (never been a mint girl except for mint choc chip ice cream), and I omitted the parmesan cheese. LOVED it to tears. Usually my go-to eggplant recipe is eggplant parm or I’ll throw in some eggplant to baked ziti, but this was just perfect for summer. I will be making this on a regular basis for now on! Glad I have another meatless dish to add to my summer rotation.

  105. Jen

    Yummy–I doubled the mint (because it needed to be trimmed) and it was a bit too minty; also, should have used a bit less pasta and a tad less red pepper flakes, altho we’re spicy fans.

  106. Freya

    I just made this sauce, adding lemon juice, vinegar, a whole head of roasted garlic and a ton of chopped basil. It was sublime. I topped the pasta with roasted wedges of eggplant and they interacted beautifully with the sprinkling of toasted pine nuts. The dish went beautifully with a glass of Barolo. My only regret is that I wasn’t more tuned-in while cooking or I probably would have used equal parts Barolo and cooking water to thin the sauce instead of just the water.

    people, get a glass of Barolo, or any wine made from Nebbiolo and drink it with this. You’ll be glad you did!

  107. Shilpa

    I have made this sauce twice in the past week and it’s been great! I followed the recipe pretty closely the first time but made a few changes last night when I made it again. I thinned the sauce using a bit of chicken stock and a bit of milk. The milk gave it a little bit of sweetness which was great against the slight bitterness of the eggplant. I also added some boiled peas to the sauce and they were great. Also, I didn’t have mint either of the times, so threw in some basil. Can’t wait to try it with some mint, though.

  108. Becka

    I really loved this recipe – not only did it provide me the opportunity to use my Cuisinart again (we’ve lived together for years, but have had a very separate existence), but it was also delicious and easy to make! Like some other posters, I only used a bit of the pasta water, but I like my sauces more on the thick side. While I do like spice, I think I would cut the red pepper flakes – maybe 1/2 or 3/4 teaspoon instead – it’s amazing how much impact one teaspoon can make! To offset the spice, I kept adding fresh grated parmesan reggiano as I ate. Yum!

  109. claire dweck

    What a dish! I didnt use pine nuts because i didnt have any in my kitchen and it was still fantastic! SO happy i found you

  110. Lizzy

    I’ve never heard so many jealous remarks ….. Gosh…I watch Food Network all the time and love Giada and Ina’s recipes. I’ve tried alot of them and most of them were a sucess. Giada can’t help she is beautiful….get over it people, don’t hate her for that!

  111. Stephanie

    This is a fabulous recipe! I changed it up a bit and made it into a dip using the Honey & Thyme Flat bread (also a delish recipe) as a vehicle instead of the pasta. I used 2 medium eggplants which I peeled (which may reduce the bitterness cited by Shilpa) and only used a few leaves of mint (about 1/8 cup). I added about one third of an onion to be roasted with the vegetables; included the mint and 1/2 of the toasted pine nuts to be blended (immersion blender) with the roasted veggies (adding the remaining pine nuts post blending as a topping).I also went with a small amount of balsamic. I reduced the 3T of oil to a little less than 1 T of oil when blending the veggies. I excluded the cheese (per healthier recipe and already on the flat bread). The consistency worked out great as a dip and the flavor was fabulous! Personally I loved the level of spice. Great post!

  112. Erica

    I have tried a number of your recipes/Gourmet and have had hits; such as the summer squash and potato gratin. But this was just disappointing. I had tomatoes picked from my garden less than an hour before, and a farm share eggplant ready and waiting. I don’t think I could have started with better ingredients and this just was a downer. It was so bland, beyond the spice, I had to add regular tomato sauce just to make it interesting. Not sure what I missed that others “got” but I’d spend your time elsewhere…..

  113. Tammy

    I made this last night and loved it! Actually, I did it a little differently (2 eggplants, 3 fresh tomatoes, 1 yellow squash, fresh basil, dried oregano, olive oil, salt, and pepper; roasted all; blended in food processor with romano cheese; served over pasta). I love this method of making pasta sauce and will be doing it more often this way! I also think it would be a lovely spread on good bread. Thanks!

  114. Jennifer

    I made this tonight, and it was great! My sauce, however, looked nothing like yours, and was more creamy, almost pesto-y….and it was fabulous! It was definitely a make again! :)

  115. jem

    wow this was delicious. mine looked absolutely revolting though, like baby vomit or something – but looks aren’t everything. i added a little more garlic, because i love garlic but i think i stuck to your recipe for everything else – although i did have it with homemade linguine-type pasta. thanks!

  116. Chloe

    How do you know? How DO you know, Deb? I was riding the Metro home from work tonight here in Los Angeles (I know, very NYC of me!), and I was thinking, ‘what am I going to do with that lonely little eggplant in my refrigerator tonight?’ and then I thought I definitely have some pasta hanging around, so I could put it in a pasta. ‘but how exactly do you put eggplant in pasta?’

    thank you.

  117. Amanda

    I just have to say that I never made this recipe when you actually posted it, but made it a couple of months ago, and I think I’ve made it about 6 times since. This is one of the best, best, simplest recipes ever. I usually make it with a slighter higher eggplant to tomato ratio (a larger eggplant with slightly less than a pint of tomatoes) and always some lemon juice at the end to brighten it up.

    I love this, and anyone else reading down this far – MAKE THIS.

  118. Natalie

    This recipe is fabulous–especially since I have recently discovered that eggplant is something you can eat, not just walk by fearfully in the grocery store. The amount of red pepper was a little much for me, though my husband liberally sprinkled more over his plate before eating. I also used basil, because I had it. Next stop–roasted eggplant soup!

  119. M

    Finally managed to make this tonight, while doing a load of laundry and listening to The Beatles. The heat from red pepper flakes makes me want some mint chocolate chip ice cream.. mm

  120. Alex

    I made this and it sounded good, but tasted bland! I guess eggplant puree is not a great pasta sauce. It wasn’t terrible, just not one of the greatest Giada recipes! I also made the other two recipes from the episode, the crostini with pea puree and roasted cauliflower with parmesan and pancetta. None of the recipes were excellent. But I have made way too many great Giada recipes for one slew of bad ones to lose my faith in her cuisine!

  121. Erin

    This is our new favorite pasta dish! I bulked up the tomatoes like you talked about, and then I added about 1/2 cup or a little more of red wine instead of vinegar and also used some lemon juice. At the end I didn’t need too much pasta water and it came out so rich and fabulous that it was hard to resist not sopping up the last of the sauce with extra bread! Thank you!

  122. Ok- just ate this and my inner mouth is nauseous. I got mint on the roof and garlic babaganoush on my tongue and molars. Overall- very unpleasant. But, on the good side- it was very memorable.

  123. Tammy

    Have made this (with some alterations) since last summer and LOVE it. I especially like the eggplant mixture leftover on bread. In fact, it’s a terrific dip/spread! Thanks, I’ve been raving about this recipe!

  124. Robin

    Made this for the first time tonight and it was DELICIOUS. Now I’m not a huge fan of eggplant (unless it’s fried and covered with gooey cheese) but I had some eggplants in the garden and some cherry tomatoes so I ‘trusted in Deb’ and boy were we not disappointed!
    I added basil instead of mint (being a fan of basil and not so much of mint) and some hot Italian sausage and it was so good I’m making it again next week with another eggplant that’s ripe…

  125. Leah227

    I just made this and will be taking tonight to a picnic concert! I agree with PP that it is a tad spicy for my taste – but the addition of a glug of vinegar is a solid call. :) I also substituted toasted walnut bec that is what I had on hand and it seems fine.
    Thanks Deb for your beautiful, smart blog!!!

  126. jen

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was great. I used half a pint of cherry tomatoes and then two regular tomatoes, basil instead of mint, added some red wine and balsamic, and put a dollop of ricotta on at the end.

  127. hk

    Made this today. So good! I didn’t really measure b/c I had more eggplant than you called for, and used a whole hot pepper I had in the freezer from last year’s garden, but what a perfect way to use garden produce! So awesome. YUM YUM on this fall day!

  128. Liz L.

    Loved this, but would have to agree, that even though we like spice, the full teaspoon of red pepper flakes was a bit over powering. Of course, extra cheese helped counter that. It also needed a touch more salt.

  129. I found this a bit bland as a pasta dish, even with a glug of red wine vinegar and some ricotta salata sprinkled at the end, which surprised me. I ended up throwing some slow roasted tomatoes in after mixing the pasta and puree. I’m also kind of produce season clueless, so could freshness have been an issue? I was excited when I realized I had everything but the eggplant, but my grocery store was down to one giant and one small little eggplant and both looked kind of sad. Or maybe I just don’t really know eggplant. I always find the texture of roasted whole eggplant “icky” and so I’ve never really eaten it before, but figured I could do it in a puree like this and I did like the feel of this sauce. I thought the puree was delicious spread on some crusty bread though!

  130. Alyssa

    I’m huge a Giada fan. I can understand why people don’t like Rachel Ray or Sandra Lee, but Giada. Everything that I made from Giada has been a success for me. With that said, I loved this recipe and I didn’t think it was bland at all. It had a nice kick with the chili flakes. I personally like thicker sauces so maybe that’s why I liked it. The only change I made was swapping the mint for the basil. I think the next time I make this I will add ricotta cheese and lemon zest to make this dish even better.

  131. Monica

    Don’t have cable for TV, so don’t watch the cooking ‘stories’ (love that! LOL) and when I have seen them, none have won me over.

    I just came across this and want to try it, but regarding your thoughts about adding some vinegar or lemon juice at the end (either sound good, BTW) that some red wine would also be a great addition to give the pureed eggplant and tomatoes a deeper, richer flavor, as well as add a little extra liquid.

  132. jessie

    LOVED this! I doubled the tomatoes (2 pints) and also added 1/2 c. of ricotta and some chopped kalamata olives. I also subbed parsley for mint.

  133. Man, I have made lots of your recipes and I think all of them have been amazing! And this one is no exception! I accidentally added the pine nuts to the puree and it was actually kind of yummy like that….gave it a bit of creaminess. You are very talented and I look forward to making more of your recipes!

  134. MaryM

    So here I am in 2016 reading this recipe because of the link in today’s blog episode. I am an eggplant addict; my husband not so much, but he eats what I cook. Thanks to the commenter who left the roasted veg whole instead of pureeing them. I was thinking about that myself. I’m sure it’s a much less “ugly” dish, and I will love getting whole chunks of eggplant! I guess my reason for commenting is to say that here we are so many years later, and Deb and Giada are still going strong. Giada is now one of the few actual “cooking shows” left on the network; they seem to find it more profitable to turn cooking into a sports contest. Cheers to Giada, Ina, and anyone else still holding out for teaching us to cook and expand our tasty horizons!

  135. Olivia T.

    I grew a garden last summer for the first time because I am obsessed with this sauce. I grew eggplants and tomatoes and made tons of this sauce. I use basil instead of mint since I don’t like mint in savory dishes. I never use parmesan or pine nuts because I think it is so good on its own.

  136. CS

    I should have headed commenter #166’s reminder about leaving the roasted veg. whole, but didn’t, next time for sure! I added 8ozs cut in half button mushrooms (nice to get in those extra minerals when possible) to the garlic, medium eggplant and (2 pints) tomato roast. I sautéed a pound of ground turkey seasoned with S&P and pureed it all up with half a container of TJ’s ricotta, glugs of red wine and some pasta water. Was NOT a good idea, although it tasted fine, it truly looked disgusting. I’m glad I did not puree the basil and saved it to use as a fresh garnish. As others mentioned it was bland I tasted as I went, adding S&P as necessary. Julienning the basil and serving it on top with the pine nuts and salad greens on the side lightened the whole dish up. The only complaint from my crowd was that they didn’t like how it looked and the texture of the puree was not pleasing.

    In the future I will roast the eggplant, tomatoes and mushrooms, and will gently toss with the ricotta, cooked ground turkey or sliced sausages (my people like their protein). Another option I thought of to give it more sauce, was instead of roasting the tomatoes, cut them in half, heat up some oil in a pot, put them in the pot with a couple smashed cloves of garlic and pinch of cayenne, bring to a boil, then let it slow simmer about 15-20 min or so. It’s our fave quick pasta sauce I learned in a gnocchi making class….