Aubergine en anglais, c'est eggplant and I love this dish because it got my kids to eat it! Yea! This plat principle (main course) is packed with flavor and very easy to prepare. I prefer the Japanese eggplant (pictured right). It's a prettier color, sweeter and less seedy. However, any eggplant will do just fine. Please try it and I bet your kids become aubergine eaters!
1 lb. gluten free rigatoni (or any other preferred pasta)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2.5 cups eggplant chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes sliced in half vertically
1.5 cups smoked mozzarella cut into small cubes
3/4 cup chicken stock (vegetable stock works too)
1.5 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup pasta water reserved
Top with a fresh basil chiffonade (8-10 leaves)
-Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large sauté pan until fragrant.
-Add the eggplant, and cook until browned. Eggplant acts like a sponge and will soak up the oil quickly. If it looks too dry, add a few extra drizzles of oil. There should be some brown bits on the bottom of your pan from the eggplant. Pour in the chicken/vegetable stock and deglaze the pan (scrape up all of the brown food particles and mix into your sauce).
-Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper and simmer for about five minutes (you don't want the tomatoes to break down too much).
-Bring a large pot of salted water with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to a boil. Cook the pasta to al dente. Before draining the pasta reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water and add it to the eggplant and tomato sauce.
-Once the pasta is drained combine with the eggplant and tomatoes and mix well. Wait 10 minutes for the pasta to cool slightly and add the smoked mozzarella. Mix again and top with the basil. Enjoy!
-Makes 4 adult servings.