Saturday, March 10, 2012

Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Pesto

I know. It may seem kind of weird. But, really - roasted garlic? Roasted eggplant? You can't go wrong.

Simplicity is something I need in my life right now, at least with food. Everything else feels so crazy and rushed and looming and overwhelming between my job and finishing up with graduate school, that the idea of a simple meal that still tastes good (and is healthy, no less) is irresistible. And that's what this recipe is - simplicity at its best. Minimal work upfront, and then it turns into a magnificent meal while you do other stuff.

So give it a try! Eggplants are one of those oft-overlooked vegetables that may surprise you. So why not let it?

Roasted Eggplant Pesto
Makes enough for two servings of pasta

1 medium eggplant
20 ripe cherry tomatoes
1/2 red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
To taste (roughly 1/2 tsp of each): dried basil, dried oregano, dried parsley, dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Line a large roasting pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Peel the eggplant and cut into 4 pieces (lengthwise). Sprinkle liberally with salt (you'll wipe most of it off again in a few minutes) and let sit for about 15 minutes. This will cause the eggplants to "sweat" and will get rid of some of the moisture. After 15 minutes, use paper towels to wipe the beads of moisture and salt off of the eggplant. Cut it into large chunks and place back into the foil-lined roasting pan.

Meanwhile, chop the onion and garlic into small pieces, and cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Add them to the eggplant once you've done the step above.  In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and pour it over the entire mixture. Sprinkle the spices over the whole thing and stir it up to mix (but don't worry about mixing it too well).

Place in the oven and roast for about an hour, stirring every 10 - 15 minutes. Roast until the eggplant is very tender - it may take longer than an hour. Once it's done, put it all into a food processor and blend until it's as smooth as you'd like it. You can add a bit more olive oil or a little water if you want it to be thinner.

Serve over gluten-free pasta as a pesto, or as a tapenade on bread or crackers.


MommyGroove said...

I just made this tonight - it tastes AMAZING!
Thank you!

Claire Berman said...

Hi MommyGroove, I'm so glad you liked it!! I made it so many times in a row that I finally became sick of it, but it was just so good that I couldn't stop :) Thanks so much for your comment!

Unknown said...

So I haven't found a yummy pasta yet. The pasta in your picture looks like PASTA. What brand do you buy???

Claire Berman said...

Hi Megan, this was actually the corn pasta from Trader Joe's, which wasn't my favorite. I like Tinkyada brown rice pasta, but I haven't tried too many of the other brands. There are a few multigrain ones that might be good if you're looking to deviate from rice. Which ones have you tried?

Maia Dobson said...

That pesto look so delicious! I only get to taste sumptuous pastas at gluten free friendly restaurants. I hope I could learn how to cook soon.