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Author Notes: I've adapted this recipe from Jerry Traunfeld's recipe (he is my current culinary obsession!). I like the nutty flavor of the walnuts juxtaposed with the ciliegine (small mozzarella balls). I tend to be a vegetarian when I cook and I like that this dish is a complete meal with ample veg and protein. In the photo I used tri-colored rotini (I'm moving and trying to eat up everything in the cupboard!), but whole wheat penne would be lovely too. Another seasonal addition might be halved cherry tomatoes for an extra dash of color and crunch. —student epicure
- 2 Italian eggplants, in 1 inch cubes
- 4 large garlic cloves (unpeeled!)
- ~4 tablespoons extra virgen olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 1 cup dried pasta, like penne or rotini
- 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
- 1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves
- 8 ciliegine, halved
- Preheat oven to 400. In a large baking dish, spread eggplant with garlic cloves in a single layer. Drizzle with 2 T olive oil or until you can evenly coat the cubes by tossing. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until eggplant is tender, 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.
- Roughly chop walnuts and set aside in a small bowl. Finely chop basil and add to bowl with remaining 2 T olive oil.
- When eggplant is tender, remove garlic cloves and peel. Roughly chop garlic and add to walnuts and basil.
- In a serving bowl (or you can use the pot you used to cook the pasta), toss together the eggplant, pasta, walnut-basil sauce, and ciliegine. Season with salt & pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe Using Fresh Mozzarella