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Farfalle with Roasted Garlic and Eggplant

When you roast garlic, include another head or two to save for other uses. Squeeze the roasted garlic from the cloves and store in an airtight container. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small eggplant, 1 1/2 lb. total, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
  • 8 Tbs. olive oil
  • Salt, to taste, plus 1/2 tsp. and 2 Tbs.
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 garlic head
  • 1 lb. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh basil
  • 1 lb. farfalle, rigatoni or other medium-size pasta
  • 3 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small pieces

Directions:

Roast the eggplant and garlic
Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Brush both sides of the eggplant slices lightly with 2 Tbs. of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Cut the garlic head in half crosswise and drizzle both halves with another 2 Tbs. of the oil. Place the eggplant and the garlic on 2 baking sheets, making sure the eggplant slices are not touching. Roast the eggplant until it is nicely browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Continue to roast the garlic until soft and fragrant, about 20 minutes longer. Cut the eggplant slices into small pieces.

Make the sauce
Squeeze the garlic pulp from the cloves. In a large serving bowl, combine the remaining 4 Tbs. oil and the roasted garlic, mashing and blending well. Stir in the tomatoes, the basil and the 1/2 tsp. salt and season with pepper.

Cook the pasta
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the 2 Tbs. salt and the pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Add the pasta to the sauce along with the roasted eggplant and the cheese. Toss to combine. Add as much of the cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Pasta, by Julia della Croce (Oxmoor House, 2006).