Seeing as I am never short of opinions on anything–most especially when it comes to the 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 said a single word about Giada. Let me redress that right now: I really want to like her — and no, not in the way that my husband might (busted!). I’ll see her cooking something and it always looks pretty good and like it could be tasty, but I so rarely feel the need to make it myself because I’m not convinced that, say, adding mint to a basil pesto is going to make it more interesting or that adding crushed almond cookies to an ice cream sundae for an “authentic Italian flavor” is any of the things described. Does this actually improve it, or just make it different?
But three times lately I saw her making dishes that was too curious not to make, most recently in the format of a fairly effortless pasta sauce from roasted vegetables… and ended up with, well, the absolutely ugliest pasta dish to have yet graced the Smitten Kitchen. Pureéed eggplant is never going to win a beauty contest; actually the word purée is kind of ick too, right? It just sounds like baby food. Fortunately, it tastes a lot better.
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 (but I also like this with basil) 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 too. The recipe is simple and fairly quick, and the resulting dish was hearty and original. I’d worried the flavor would be flat but it was well seasoned and anything but and I was glad I’d overcome my skepticism to try it. Now, who wants to hedge bets on that short rib tagliatelle?
One year ago: Icebox Cake
Rigatoni with Eggplant Puree
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 pint (2 cups) cherry tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
- 1 pound dried rigatoni pasta
- 1/4 cup torn fresh mint or basil leaves, plus a couple extra, slivered, to finish
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or (shown here) ricotta salata
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
In a large bowl combine the eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (to taste). 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.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but a full minute shy of done, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta but reserve a cups or so of the cooking water.
Transfer the roasted vegetables — I use the parchment paper as a sling — to a food processor or blender. Add the torn mint or basil leaves and additional 3 tablespoons olive oil. Blend until almost smooth.
Return the pasta to the cooking pot, pour sauce over it and a splash (about 1/3 cup) of cooking water and cook together, tossing so that the pasta is evenly coated, over medium-high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add more pasta cooking water, one ladleful at a time, as needed, if needed to loosen the sauce.
Transfer pasta and sauce to a serving bowl; garnish with extra herbs, pine nuts and parmesan or ricotta salata, and serve.
303 comments on rigatoni with eggplant purée
Yum. It may look ugly but I bet it tastes great.
See ya Sunday!
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.
I can’t stand Rachel or Giarda food is always underwhelming to me
I love Ina though and everything of hers I’ve made which is a lot has been delicious!
Beef bourginon , lemon fusili pasta, coconut cake outrageously brownies are a few that come to mind
Ha! Those are my thoughts exactly on Giada! I did make one of her recipes once (http://straightfromthefarm.wordpress.com/2007/10/11/baked-winter-squash-gratin/) and, while it turned out better than anything else I’ve lifted from the Food Network, it wasn’t anything to write home/blog about until I made some adjustments. Still, the idea of an eggplant pasta sauce is revvin’ my engine. I’ll give your version a go… :-)
Lovely! And you can taste the garlic and the rich roast tomatoes so it makes for a flavourful meal! I’ve never made my own pasta sauce and this was good!
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?? :)
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.
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/
Really delicious with summer vegetables! I do like the texture of toasted nuts, but I decided to purée mine with the roasted vegetables. I used basil and luscious olive oil.
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!
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.
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…
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.
Have you tried freezing the sauce and how does it hold up?
My husband doesn’t like her (or so he says), but I’m kinda crushing on her. I think her eyes would make her interesting to photograph. Great photos, and loving that third one just a little too much. – Lisa
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Her anise biscotti cookies are always such a hit at the holidays.
I did try her butternut squash basil lasagna and that was quite good, although she kind of does annoy me to watch.
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!
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!!!!!
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.
. . . or “cooking with cleavage,” as I refer to her.
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.
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 :)
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.
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.
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!
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.)
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.
love it! yum! i’ve put chopped eggplant in my tomato sauce recipe before and it’s wonderful. so this would be right up my alley!
Eggplant is my favorite vegetable. This is what I’ll be making the next time I use a kitchen… with bread and good cheeses for appetizers…
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?
Can I use another nut besides a pine nut?
Yes, any kind you like. Or skip it, if you don’t need the crunch.
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.
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???!
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.
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…
I too have a love-hate relationship with Giada (http://chewonthatblog.com/2007/10/30/my-love-hate-relationship-with-giada/). I have made many of her recipes, but you’re right, they often lack imagination and I end up changing them a bit. This eggplant pasta looks great though – thanks!
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.
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 . . .
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
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!!!
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).
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.
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?
Is it possible to delete the older, trollish comments on this post that judge women based on their appearances? It’s far beneath what I expect from this website, which I otherwise love.
i’m really grateful for this comment, deb!!! I made this last night (with ricotta ravioli in place of the rigatoni and it was GREAT) but had a lot of sauce leftover, so was scrolling the comments to see if anyone had asked you about alternate uses for the sauce, and was really bummed out by the volume and content of comments about various tv cooks’ bodies.
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.
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!
oooh, or how about some fresh basil chiffonade as garnish vs. the mint in the sauce?
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.
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.
Sorry for misspelling cleavage.
Sorry again! Despite of Giada’s cleavage, I have all her cookbooks and love her recipes.
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.
I also made this a few weeks ago and I added ground lamb to the eggplant mixture.
It added that something I thought this recipe was missing too.
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.
Saw this on etsy and thought of you:
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.
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.
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!”
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.
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?
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.
I have always found her recipes rather boring and she irritates me – the camera work on her show also makes me feel ill.
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.
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.
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.” :-)
:) 52 IS young. :-)
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.
Vegetables roasted with plum or cherry tomatoes and garlic = great stuff. A nice, simple meal even if it won’t win any gourmet titles.
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 peersâ€”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. …
I love Santadad. He makes me laugh.
Deb! Deb Deb! Did you see this?! http://www.culinate.com/chocolate
You could quite possibly get to go to Napa again!
No, no, no. I wouldn’t run again. In fact, I’ll be a judge. Start plying me with gifts now! (I kid.)
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.
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.
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!
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…
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. :)
Deb you’re hilarious! I donâ€™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? ;)
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.
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.
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…
Wow, that looks great. Ok, maybe not, but I would still want to eat it. I love eggplant!
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!
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.
This is the BEST rigatoni recipe I have ever seen…thanks for sharing!
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.
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.
Try her lemon spagetti, its really simple yet amazing.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
I just found your website on a search for a blondie recipe. The pictures alone are enough to make my mouth water. I will definitely let you know how they turn out.
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.
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! :-)
I made this last night and it was wonderful! My boy licked the plate clean – high compliment ;)
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
this is so mother-f’ing AMAZING.
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!
Made this tonight – absolutely fantastic! I used balsamic vinegar at the end – I think I’d like to try with lemon juice next time.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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. :(
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
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!
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.
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. ;)
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
I can’t wait to make this! Do you happen to remember what you meant by a “small” eggplant, weight-wise? Thanks, Deb!
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
Really fantastic! I just reviewed this on Cookbooker – definitely a top recipe, and one I could eat weekly.
my review: http://www.cookbooker.com/recipe/17481/rigatoni-with-eggplant-puree
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!
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!
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…..
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!
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! :)
It was just meh….I will not make it again.
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!
This is perfect for a great veggie recipe this time of year! I looooovvvveee Giada too, so glad you tried her recipe! Cannot wait to try this the way you made it!
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?’
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.
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!
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
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!
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!
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.
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!
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…
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!!!
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.
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!
Perfect way to sneak eggplants into and by my children! Ha! Watch out now you buggers!
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.
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!
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.
Hi Deb, do you think this meal would freeze well? Thanks!
I just shared this on my blog as one of my favorite recipes! i’ve made it multiple times and its delicious! http://www.handmadeintheheartland.com/2013/09/recipes-i-love.html
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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….
It seems a bit inaccurate to post this in the “I made this!” section, as I have, increasingly so lately, used this recipe as a template and substituting ingredients and procedure to meet my kitchen and family’s needs! The roasted veggies were really good! I added two yellow squash, an extra clove of garlic, and Aleppo pepper in lieu of red pepper. I used Trader Joe’s “Trofie Colore”… fancy shmancy small macaroni (which, surprisingly enough, matched the veggies nicely!) since that is was was sitting in the pantry. I also mashed the roasted vegetables with a potato masher several times, then mixed in- oops- totally forgot the pine nuts and didn’t notice until just now!… 1 c. cottage cheese, 1/2 cup-ish grated parmesan cheese, several slugs of Misson Fig balsamic vinegar (forgot the extra oil!), I’m guessing 1 1/2 c. chopped leftover baked chicken, and tossed a bunch (2 big fistfuls) of baby kale which I tossed in with the past for the last few minutes. It was good!
So yummy! Skipped the mint because we didn’t have it, and used preserved lemon instead of juice.
I love these types of dishes, easy and simple with a great result at the end, thanks for sharing this wonderful dish really, an excellent job on your part, I did and I love it, I will definitely repeat it again, keep it up And regards.
Wow, so many people hating Giada here. What’s the point in that? Who was it who said, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t support other women?”
Made this last night for a dinner with friends and was really pleased with how it turned out. My husband didn’t buy enough tomatoes, so I supplemented with some leftover tomato sauce we had in the fridge. With some pasta water, it was loose enough to toss with the pasta. My “glug” was balsamic vinegar at the end, and I used basil instead of mint. Will make again for guests!
I’m trying this out tonight (the vegetables are roasting as I type)! When I read about your burnt pine nuts though, I had to share the tip that changed my pasta game. Alton Brown has a method for toasting pine nuts in the microwave wrapped in parchment paper that makes beautiful toasted pine nuts every time and requires so little effort. It works great for walnuts too. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/microwave-toasted-pine-nuts-recipe-1961016
Love your blog (and book!). You’ve totally converted me to eggplants and butternut squash, and so many other things.
This is great to know! Thank you.
This looks amazing! Making this tonight for sure–I might try it with fresh egg paparedelle because papardelle is LIFE! And I completely agree with you about Giada’s recipes :) Been reading your blog for years, love you!
Made this last weekend – it was perfect. Stuck to the recipe completely except for swapping sunflower seeds for pine nuts (but allergy) and it was DELICIOUS and so so easy!
About how much eggplant would equal a med one? I got a lot of long skinny ones in my CSA box and would like to try this recipe.
Mine was 14 ounces. I’d say anything in the 3/4 to 1 pound range. I don’t actually think a larger one (say 1.25 pounds) would be a problem, though.
Have to tell you I’ve made numerous Giada recipes & they never disappoint! She is my favorite celebrity chef, so even got to meet her in person once at a book signing and she was so sweet. This pasta looks yummy!
I made this tonight and it was one of those pasta dishes where I lose all self control and really should have someone stop me and put it away or I nibble it away to nothing. My toddler devoured it. Usually I have a “no food processor on weeknights” rule because that usually means a recipe is a bit too fussy and it has about three too many dishes than I feel like doing, however this was much less fussy than many of my other weeknight staples. It will be on my rotation for sure as long as good eggplant is easy to come by. I didn’t have basil but I used fresh thyme and parsley, and that was good enough.
Help! I want to make this for a dinner this weekend a…’Farewell to Summer’ menu. Some questions. Can the sauce be made earlier in the day? What about roasting some eggplants/tomatoes last minute to throw on top? Thanks!
Thanks for bringing this recipe to my attention via instagram… we really enjoyed it!! I recently had to cut out dairy and gluten so I loved how this felt creamy and decadent without the dairy. I did, however, serve a full batch of the sauce with only 8 oz of (gluten free) pasta and it felt just about perfect so I’d maybe up the sauce if I was doing the full pound. Very good!
Made for dinner with the addition of sweet red pepper. So much better than you would think. My husband turned up his nose when I told him what it was, but he proceeded to eat 3 servings! I bet it will be extra good leftover for lunch.
Made this tonight according to the recipe (with mint and parmesan), except I had to use farfalle since that’s the only pasta I had on hand! My eggplant was on the smaller side.
I thought it was pretty good. My under powered processor left some large-ish pieces of eggplant skin, which were a bit tough. Also, I wanted a bit more *something.* I might make it again with twice as many tomatoes, or some onions or shallots, or some lemon juice, or even a couple of anchovies. It makes a very silky sauce, and quite a lot of it, once you thin it out with pasta water.
I love SK, and loved this recipe! It was a shockingly easy weeknight meal. Next time I will roast the eggplant/tomatoes/garlic a bit longer, and play around with adding red pepper and onion! As a young adult who is new to cooking for herself, I have Deb to thank for the vast majority of food I cook and fun I have been having in the kitchen.
This was amazing! One of my new favorite fall/winter meals for sure. My husband usually won’t eat eggplant but he didn’t even know and went back for seconds. It was surprisingly hearty dish and I can’t wait to make it again. Thanks for another winner!
Absolutely a new favorite in our dinner rotation! I added a sweet red pepper to the roasted veggies and backed off the hot red pepper flakes to 1/2 tsp. I guess we’re wimpy. Delicious! Thanks SK!!
This is outstanding! I always struggle to find good ways to use eggplant other than just roasting it plain. This dish is delicious and the eggplant tomato puree would also be delicious on toast points for an appetizer or as a topping for fish. Yum!
Ugh, this recipe is SO GOOD. It’s easy to make, uses simple ingredients and super tasty. Also tried adding sautéed kale, onions & mushrooms to the dish for some extra nutrition and texture – big hit. We make double batches and freeze the sauce. It did great for the month that it was left in the freezer. It also seems to do well in the fridge but it didn’t stay in there more than a week because we kept making meals with it! Threw this sauce on crusty bread, roasted veggies, etc. an awesome add to all.
This looks like a very Interesting recipe But just wondering if you add all the nutritional information to your recipes. That Would be great for guys that like to count calories.
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Delicious! I made it with whole wheat penne. I completely agree with the commenter below–pureeing the eggplant gives it a nice creamy texture, and I love the kick from the red pepper and the crunch from the pine nuts.
Another SK gem!! Made this last night and it was delicious! Only modification was that I added onion to the roasting veg and then before tossing the processed veg and pasta into my pan, I sautéed some anchovies and minced onion as a base to the sauce. I used mint and it was a great combo with the tomatoes and eggplant. Love this. Will be making it again soon! Thank you, Deb! Xo
This looks amazing, but I don’t know how you reconcile waiting until late summer to get the best/freshest veggies with having your oven on at 400 for 35 minutes in the same late summer weather. In a small apartment where that oven heats everything else up, too! I may have to risk using store bought veggies in the fall instead.
This was ohhhh so good! I don’t think I’ll ever buy ready made sauces again.
Wonderful recipe. Could you essentially consider this dish a roasted form of Pasta alla Norma?
This looks Outstanding… and puréeing the sauce will blend all the flavors nicely… but you’re right, it’s not attractive. What if one tried blending a small amount of the sauce, and adding the rest of the roasted vegetables – as is? So you end up with the flavor of sauce and the beauty of the roasted veggies. Without the blending, it resembles Pasta ala’Norma… which I love. I’m wanting to try it right now… Too bad it’s after Midnight in California.
Delicious. Great recipe. Only comment is that I needed maybe a cup and a half of pasta water to make it creamy.
Tonight I made this with ground lamb, and it was great! While the veggies were roasting I sautéed the lamb with garlic and shallots, then added the mixture and continued as normal. Awesome!
I made this for dinner today and added a few handfuls of baby spinach when I added the pasta to the sauce. It worked really well with the flavours and upped the veg a little.
I think the purée would also make a great base for more complex sauces.
I added the spinach and although the taste was really good it did change the color to a not very appetizing hue.
I am trying this recipe for the first time. I have never gone wrong with Deb’s recipes. My family and I love them! This was not labor intensive at all to get in the oven. I’m sure I will be doing this one again. Thank you!
I made this last evening and thoroughly enjoyed it. Is there a way to post a photo that I took of the dish? Thanks.
I’ve never cared for eggplant — in fact, must admit that I’ve actively avoided it! But I decided to try this recipe recently when our CSA box included eggplants. I’m a believer now!!! This sauce is amazing! I could eat whole a bowl of the sauce alone. I just made another batch to freeze for the future. Thanks Deb! ❤️
Would regular field tomatoes (quartered) work as well as the cherry ones? I have a lot of the field tomatoes I’d like to use up.
I’d think so, but they’d take a little longer to get a roasty depth.
Can this be frozen?
Made this years ago and just remembered it- so yummy and easy! Dinner on the table in about an hour! I love eggplant so this will definitely be added to my repertoire!
I made this recipe last night, almost 11 years to the day after it was published. I really loved it and will make it again for sure. Thinking of all the recipes that your site hosts it’s quite humbling to imagine how many more wonderful moment I could experience. Thank you for all this work!
This is a great hearty but healthy pasta dish. I’ve made it using a knife when my blender was packed away during a move, still good but much better as a purée. I use whatever tomatoe is best, not always cherry tomatoes. No need to measure the ingredients, I use whatever is on hand.
I love most of your recipes, but will blame Giada for the fact that this one missed the mark. I had high hopes as roasted veg usually is the bomb. However, this was like pasta paste…even after adding a cup of cooking liquid. Very blah. Maybe it was the winter eggplant…don’t know but won’t repeat. Too many other great recipes on your blog! I have some Giada recipes I like, but I don’t care for her personality on TV, or in her one cookbook that I purchased (regrettably). Way too much of HER and her grin, and her cleavage….ugh gag. I lost respect for her as a cook when I heard she tastes food and spits it out to stay thin. Are you kidding me?
Deb, I made this last night. What a fantastic recipe! I love the way the eggplant and pasta water add creamy element and some oomfff to the sauce. Will use this again and may add in some extra at the end like mushrooms or capers or olives. Thanks for keeping meals delicious! You are my go-to recipe woman! (And have been for probably 10 years)
I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious!
Even my husband, who is an avowed eggplant-hater liked it. Have you ever tried freezing the sauce? I ended up with a lot of extra.
Did you try freezing it? I also want to know if i can freeze it!
I haven’t made this (yet) myself, but see the comment from Jeany on Nov. 12. She did. (someone else did too, but I can’t remember who–sorry)
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Very tasty- I like the way the taste of the pepper and eggplant are quite strong.
Just fantastic. The sauce had a beautifully velvety texture to it. I would say if there are any leftovers, toss more pasta water into the dish before storing as the pasta will continue to absorb moisture and get dry. Will be making this on repeat throughout the summer!
Hi Deb! I’d love to see recipes like this one under the gluten free heading because all you have to do is add that someone could exchange pasta for gluten free pasta. It would make a search for gluten free options easier for people. Some experienced cooks, like myself, know that I can swap ingredients many times, but new cooks might skip these wonderful recipes. 💙
I agree but then I get a lot of comments from people telling me I’m risking hurting people by not warning that they need to use GF pasta, etc. Which requires each recipe to be edited accordingly, a larger project… for one day.
I just saw this on your instagram feed and decided to make it tonight. So easy and so delicious! It did not disappoint and who doesn’t love some slightly garlicky eggplant (mine was garlicky ..)
Had enough sauce left over to save for the future. Yummmmmm
Made this tonight and LOVED it! Might use slightly less mint next time, but other than that no changes. Quick, easy & super flavourful!
This sounds so good! I haven’t read all of the comments , so I am wondering if I use Zucchini instead of eggplant how would it work out??? Will let you know, I’d like to try it…I have my own garden and use what I grow…this year, I regrettably, didn’t grow eggplant …what was I thinking….
What is the weight of the cherry tomatoes, roughly?
This was so easy and delicious! Used basil and would definitely make again. All dinner guests loved it. Thank you!
Ok, so I’m the lone eggplant-hater. This looks good though, so would substituting yellow squash or butternut squash or zucchini (or anything else really) work here, or would those be too watery?
Those doesn’t take very eggplant-y but it does get a lot of its smooth texture from the eggplant. The flavor is more of the other ingredients so depending on how much you hate eggplant I’d say try making it first. Otherwise butternut squash would work I think (zucchini I imagine wouldn’t be too too watery).
Thank you for your input, since you say the flavor isn’t so eggplanty, maybe I will actually try it!
Loved this, and a great way to use up all the cherry tomatoes ripened at the same time in the garden. We added crumbled feta for the cheese.
I loved this. Couldn’t persuade my eggplant skeptical fam but more for me! Perfect seasonal ingredients made it! Used Aleppo pepper for slight heat. Anyone try other veggie combos?
Delicious and glad it came up in my newsfeed. I will definitely dial back to slightly less than 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes next time, though. I like hot, but I think it overpowered all the other flavors, particularly the eggplant.
This makes a delicious sauce/puree, though I like my pasta a bit saucier – I reckon this quantity of puree would do for about 3 people like me! I only used half anyway, and my plan for the other half is to top some sourdough toast with it, alongside a good dollop of creamy ricotta or soft cheese with some more pine nuts and parmesan to finish it off!
2nd time making it. I was generous with the crushed red pepper (1/2 tsp) and added shredded mozzarella, and baked for a bit at 350 (covered then uncovered).
Froze unbaked portions of it on a sheetpan (then transferred to a ziplock) for future dinners
It’s very filling; 1# of pasta gives us about 7 servings, with a nice big salad on the side.
Is there a way I can make this with San Marzano canned tomatoes…? Thoughts?
You’d have to cook them first — perhaps in a covered dish with some oil and seasoning while the vegetables roast.
Mint with some feta. Now that would be the bomb.
Just made this and it was delicious. So nice to discover a new tomato based sauce & it was enjoyed by two eggplant skeptics, myself included :)
Used toasted breadcrumbs instead of pine nuts & we liked it.
Deb, cannot believe Guadalupe and Rachel have their own shows. Well I can, Giada came from a money family and Rachel has Oprah backing her. Maybe we just need some new faces in cooking channel tv, like yours!!!! Wish you had your own show 😘
I made this yesterday and it was EASY and delicious. One problem is that I wanted to eat the puree directly with a spoon for the rest of the day because it was that good.
I made no substitutions and made it exactly as-is (with basil).
Even the eggplant-haters liked this dish. HIGHLY recommend!!!
I am just confused by the date, 2008 of the posting. . . the recipe here is the 2017 completely refreshed version, right?
I added some more detailed notes and new photos in 2017, but the recipe is otherwise the same. (I’d call out any significant changes.)
I make this often and I love it. It’s rich and satisfying and perfect for when the weather starts cooling, you wouldn’t know it was a vegetarian sauce unless you asked.
OMG delicious! I put some chicken thighs on the grill while these veggies cooked in the oven. I love eggplant and would never have thought to make it into a pasta sauce. The only change I made was to add a splash of balsamic vinegar because I love the stuff! I Fantastic! Thanks for another great meal.
I made this last night and I will be adding it to my rotation. Even my husband, who’s skeptical of meatless meals, loved it. I roasted a pound of mushrooms in a separate pan and added them to the pasta at the end. It was delicious and a great way to use up eggplant!
We make this once a week, the only “veggies” my 2 year old loves. Infact, sometimes he has three helpings!
This is completely awesome !
For sure it’s a keeper!!!! And now I know what to do with all these cherry tomatoes in my garden and make good use of cheap eggplants at this time of the year. I will put 4-5 batches in the freezer for this winter. Oh and since the pine nuts are not cheap at all here in Quebec (like, you need a mortgage… Duh.), I use walnut, and it still taste amazing. So so good.
Is it possible to freeze the sauce? I’ve got an overload of eggplant and am trying to figure out what to do with it all!!
Yes, it should freeze well.
I often make a very similar dish but don’t puree it—just top the pasta with it and I think it not only tastes delicious but looks delicious, too!
This was fantastic!! Definitely on the summer rotation!
Wonderful recipe. I had both roasted yellow cherry tomatoes and roasted whole (skinless) eggplant in the freezer from 2019 and as we enter the 2020 tomato season, I was looking for a way to use them–this was perfect! The resulting color was nothing to write home about, but my not-eggplant-loving husband was happy to clean his plate. I might even freeze some of the sauce like other writers mention, straight from the garden this year.
I have 2 incredibly picky kids, so I made this today after they’d had a late lunch, thinking it’d really just be for myself. My kids have each had two bowls and told me they’d like to have this every week, just less spicy. Seriously, this is an absolute miracle! This will be on our weekly rotation from now on!
Made this last night from a mix of garden bounty and farmers market wins. It was so beautiful and delicious. I used a mix of different varieties of tomatoes. I used basil because I didn’t have mint and I was very satisfied. I also added a few splashes of balsamic to offer some added depth as I was making about a recipe and a half. Topped with arugula instead of pine nuts because I didn’t have any. So satisfying and beautiful.
Froze some and will be a regular in my rotation.
I made this after you featured it recently on IG- despite being a SK reader since 2007, I’d never noticed it in the archives. So glad you posted it, because it was greater than the sum of its parts and going into my August veggie rotation! Instead of cherry tomatoes, used three medium regular tomatoes, quartered and roasted. The roasted garlic and basil were wonderful additions, plus plenty of salt. Wonder if I could even make this sans eggplant…. Thinking about putting the sauce on pizza… or eating it straight with focaccia….
We made this last night and it was very good except for us, 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes was too hot. My husband loves hot foods and even he said it was too much. Perhaps roasting the red pepper with the vegetables enhanced their heat? Perhaps the relatively new bottle of flakes was quite potent? We are not sure, but we would definitely add only 1/4 tsp of the red pepper flakes when we make it again (which we will!)
I finally got around to making this tonight. Not only is this recipe so so so good (I only left out pine nuts and used basil not mint) it made the entire house smell so amazing.
The sauce is so creamy it’s hard to believe there is no milk products! Thank you for yet another fantastic recipe. Definitely going to become a fall staple.
Currently making this for the third time in about a month – it’s seriously so much more delicious than the name / description makes it sound. I increase the garlic and tend to see the ratios of veg as fairly rough – I also threw some feta into the food processor because I had it lying around in the fridge the last time I made it, and that worked very well!
I’ve been growing baby eggplants on my terrace this summer and had a bunch of them lined up in the fridge. Googled eggplant pasta and found this recipe. What a treasure! Made it twice in the past 3 days, it is definitely a favourite now. Tonight I added some leftover tofu cubes and a lot of parsley. Thank you!
This recipe is worth 100 yumms. We thought the puree couold be a stand alone side for grilled chicken or steak.
I have made this several times and can eat the sauce with a spoon! Have used as a dip and most recently, as a topping for pizza. So good!
Oh that is so good
I keep tasting the sauce and it’s the best eggplant ever
I made this tonight as I fancied a pasta sauce that wasn’t purely tomato based. So glad I did as we both really enjoyed the flavour of it. I made it with mint which added a lovely fresh note. Definitely one to make again
It may not have been the prettiest colour but it more than made up for it in flavour.
I doubled up the volume and have some left over – do you think it would freeze okay?
So simple and so good! I threw in extra garlic and a shallot that was suffering. My dining companion loved it too!
I really like this recipe–so simple and tasty (although I do modify it by quadrupling the amount of garlic). Has anyone tried to freeze it like you would pesto? If so, how was the quality once defrosted and about how long did it last in the freezer?
Yes, it freezes excellently! Probably good for about 6 months or so–ours didn’t stay in the freezer that long. Since I freeze grill-charred eggplant and roasted tomatoes separately in the summer, I’ve also found that combining these items works pretty well also. Personally, I much prefer the basil version to mint. More garlic sounds good too.
Hi Deb, can the sauce (without the pasta water) be frozen with good results later?
My fiancée can’t stop raving about this dish! So decandently delicious!
Made this tonight. Used basil and no pine nuts. I so not like them. This was absolutely delicious! Thanks, Deb!
Thanks for this recipe. It’ll be today’s supper. I’m a Foodie, too. I only have 2-3 of Giada’s recipes – including her wonderful triple chocolate cookies – but I have used this fruit bowl recipe of hers for years. It’s easy, unique and wonderful after a heavy meal or to take to a family buffet. (Remember buffets?) I have made slight changes – a bit more white wine and I also add fresh lemon juice. Any summer fruit is OK – to equal about 6 cups. I usually only use local fruits, but the green seedless organic grapes are nice for texture and colour. I labelled my own recipe: “Soulful Fruit Bowl with Wine and Mint”. Helen K, Burlington, Ontario, Canada
Thanks, Deb! We both really liked this – it was summery and subtle and the taste of the vegetables was very nice. I made a couple of changes – partly b/c I only had a bit of Asian eggplant from my garden. So I used Bell pepper, too. I used white wine as the acid. I didn’t use balsamic or red wine (as some have suggested) wanting a more delicate summery flavour.
EGGPLANT 3 oz – in chunks
BELL PEPPER 3 oz – in wide strips
TINY TOMATOES (I used heirloom ones from my garden) – 1 generous cup – with larger ones cut in half
COOKING ONION, small x 1/2 – quartered
GARLIC x 1 medium – quartered
OLIVE OIL – 3 TBSP
Roast vegetables as in original recipe and process as instructed.
Add to taste:
TABASCO (I prefer the control I have with Tabasco versus red pepper flakes)
KOSHER SALT – about ¾ tsp
FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER – about ½ tsp
Process briefly to desired smoothness.
Cook PASTA as described. Save a lot of the PASTA WATER.
“Cook” WHITE WINE in the MW x 60 seconds – e.g. Riesling – ½ cup
Scrape the pureed mixture into drained pasta. Stir. Add WINE and stir. Taste and adjust. Check for desired amount of sauce. I also used quite a bit of PASTA WATER, too!
Stir in PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO – ½ cup freshly shredded
Pour into wide bowls. Chiffonade FRESH BASIL and ITALIAN PARSLEY and sprinkle on top. I added small clumps of soft, fresh GOAT CHEESE on top, too.
This recipe is so simple and delicious !! Thank-you for the wonderful recipes that you share!
Made this last night with eggplant and tomatoes from my garden. (Yes, I am blessed to be a member of a community garden.) I was careful not to puree the “sauce,” as I wanted it to be chunky. It turned out perfect. I added a bit more pasta water and plain water than Deb recommended to get it how I wanted it. Excellent dish!
I’ve made this dozens of times and it is a keeper, though I usually bump up the volume of veggies to roast because I like a saucier pasta. It also works with dried basil in a pinch – add it when you are pureeing the vegetables. Just wanted to say thanks for posting it as it appears to have been removed from its original location!
I’ve made this twice, with the mint and we never got around to eating with pasta, because we kept dipping pita chips in it! It’s delicious!
You write in such an amazing style and I really enjoy visiting your website. I hope you’ll continue to write like this in the future.
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I love this recipe of hers! I’ve also been making it for years and often put it in my kids’ lunch box. :)
I am considering making this for a bookclub, but would like to make it more middle-eastern to fit the theme of the book. Could I use mint, walnuts, and feta and get a good outcome?
Super quick to come together and so filling! Amazing 😋
I had previously made a large portion of pesto and froze it, so used that to sub for the basil+parmesan and took it from there.
I, for one, thought the sauce was rather pretty. It reminded me of caponata! I used about a cup of pasta water and my sauce was still on a chunky side which was fine because both husband and I LOVED the flavor! I also used only 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and it was a bit too hot for my taste (I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy food) but husband enjoyed it very much. Will definitely make again!
Just made this today and oh my god it was magnificent. I chucked in a zucchini that I needed to use up and doubled the garlic, but we followed everything else to the letter. My partner and I just ate a third of this and froze the rest. This might take the place of our bolognese, which is great because we’ve been looking for a meatless alternative that isn’t so fussy! So, so good!
Hi Dear, I really like your post. Its writing style is so amazing. Thank you for sharing it.
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Lovely recipe. The sauce was a bit acidic for me, so I add onions to the roast veg mix. The mint is a nice touch.
So, I messed up, but I think it speaks to how adaptable this recipe is! I bought an eggplant but mistakenly put it in the green curry I made the night before I intended to make this, so when I went to make my eggplant pasta: no eggplant. I didn’t want to go to the store, so I cut up a red bell pepper I found in the fridge and a sad old onion and roasted those with the tomatoes and garlic instead. I definitely ended up with a very different result flavor-wise, but it was a great sauce—really delicious! I’ll definitely have to do it right next time, but I was really happy even with my mistake.
Needed to use a declining eggplant fast, and this recipe hit the spot. I didn’t have fresh tomatoes, so I drained a can of whole romas and put those in the food processor without roasting (so just the eggplant and garlic got roasted). Worked out great!
I have similar reaction to her show, however there are GEMS in there. Her Straccotto with dried porcini is a family recipe at this point, passed around 3 households, and often served at Christmas. It’s amazing and simple and perfect.
I made thistles night, It was great. Like a lot of you I tweaked just a bit. Added an onion and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar to the vegetables before I roasted them. Will make again.
Made this tonight with fresh summer eggplant and it was a hit, even with my kids. The sauce is surprisingly hearty for being all veg and the ricotta salata was an excellent addition. I ended up needing a ton of pasta water to thin the sauce but it all worked out.
This kind of recipe always gives me anxiety bc the size of the eggplant and how many tomatoes vary so widely. How long to really roast these? Do I have enough tomatoes or too much eggplant?
It worked out nicely with lots of pasta water added in.
It was also pretty filling and reminded me of a fall dish but the fresh tomatoes and eggplant are summer. So it’s a little weird combo in my opinion. Good use of summer veggies but a heavier dish that I usually make in the fall.
I’ve made this time and time again when the eggplants and tomatoes are in season, and I actually freeze the sauce to enjoy in the winter. It freezes well, and you can just thaw and then thin with pasta water. A really nice summery treat when the days are short!
This is a great recipe! I’ve used it to make stuffed peppers adding meat and rice along with 8oz of tomato sauce before stuffing inside peppers. Delicious! I’ve made 4 batches for this winter (freezing after pureeing) with my home grown tomatoes, basil and eggplant. Great way to use my garden produce!
Feeling compelled to leave a comment as I reach for seconds. This was a perfect use for an eggplant that had been in the fridge too long. I had some extra sweet peppers and agree they added a good flavor. I had made this one years ago and don’t think I added enough salt – what a difference this time around! *chef’s kiss* Thank you for solving dinner tonight!
Based on comments and what I had in the fridge, I made this with the addition of half a red pepper and a shallot to the roasting pan, a plop of anchovy paste to the food processor, a splash of balsamic vinegar to finish and toasted walnuts instead of pine nuts. My tomatoes were broken down by the time I took the roasting pan out of the oven and the eggplant were deeply brown. The flavor of the puree was outstanding!!! So rich! So hearty. I only needed a small amount of pasta water to loosen it up enough to coat the pasta. Served with grated parm and extra basil. Yum! We inhaled it and will definitely keep this in the rotation, with those same additions/substitutions.