Saturday, September 24, 2011

Creamy Roasted Eggplant Pasta with Walnuts


We've been having some good luck lately. Lots of jobs and opportunities coming our way. New doors opening. As a result, my husband is now working very odd hours (every day is different) and I will go to work once a week in the office as well (on his day off). I'm going to miss him terribly, I won't lie. We're a family that does everything together. I'm not exaggerating at all. We all grocery shop, run errands, vacation, go out and eat, make dinner, work on the house, play outside, stop by the post office, visit people... together. I've never once thought, "Wow, I need a break from my husband for a few hours, I wish he'd leave."
Plus, baby Emmett will be here in a few weeks and I'm sure I'll be stressed for a while adjusting to the new routine.

Sooooo.......

Work from home + work in office + new baby Emmett + 2-year-old Mimi + hubs away at different hours working + cloth diapers/laundry/dishes + cooking/baking/grocery shopping/bottles/sippies = one stressed out Elsa.

Yikes!

By the way, I did this starting in August and it was brilliant. I went through ALL of my old books and sold the majority of them (half.com). Why would I keep books I've read once and never looked at again?? GREAT way to make some extra cash.

And that organic chemistry book that I used for organic chem 1 and 2 years ago in college (yeah, 2 semester books are insanely expensive)????

Dear Professor, if you're reading this, you were right! It's an older edition but it was the first book to sell, I was shocked. An organic chemistry college book from YEARRRSSSS ago sold immediately.

So keep in mind, even the old books can sell.

Books that I would never sell though (other than cookbooks of course)....
  1. Sons and Lovers - DH Lawrence
  2. A Farewell to Arms/A Moveable Feast - Hemingway
  3. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  4. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
  5. The Sorrows of Young Werther - Goethe 
Are there any books you would never part with????

Ok, dinner time now. The flavors in this dish were amazing, the amount of pasta I used was not (I like a lot of sauce, but adjust to your preference). I should have used 1/2 lb instead of 1 lb. Other than that, perfection, loved it. Flavor the sauce any way you choose. I just flavored the sauce in a similar way to the spaghetti sauce that I make.

Roast the veggies
Chop the onion
Chop the garlic
Set roasted veggies aside
Process the walnuts
Parm
Mix together
Sprinkle on the toppings and bake
Remove from oven and serve with extra Parm

Creamy Roasted Eggplant Pasta with Walnuts
Serving Size = Roughly 4
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of sugar (optional, if sour)
  • Pinch of cinnamon (my secret ingredient in my spaghetti sauce)
  • 1/2 lb rotini pasta (or anything similar, whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, very finely chopped in a food processor
  • Roughly 1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan, split in half
  • 1 can of tomato sauce, or 1 can of whole tomatoes or 5 - 6 medium fresh tomatoes --- pureed
  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • 1 bell pepper (red, yellow, green - doesn't matter) chopped
  • 4 - 5 whole tomatoes, chopped
  • Mozzarella, fresh or pre-shredded to taste (roughly a cup)
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Oil a baking pan and then place the bell peppers, whole tomatoes and eggplant on the dish, toss with some oil and salt. Roast until tender, about 30 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onion in some oil (extra virgin olive oil will work) until it starts to turn clear. Add the garlic, tomato sauce (add some sugar if the sauce is sour, to taste), all of the spices and salt/pepper to taste. Gently simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the flavors combine. Start the pasta and make sure to salt the water (and do not over cook the pasta, most pasta only takes about 8 minutes to cook).
  3. Add the cream to the sauce and stir well, allow it to heat up. Remove from heat. Add the roasted veggies and 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese. Mix, add the pasta, mix. 
  4. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish (I used 9x13 for 1 lb, so you could use one roughly half this size for 1/2 lb of pasta). Sprinkle on as much mozzarella as you want (I would say about 1 cup).
  5. In your food processor, chop the walnuts and then mix with the other 1/2 of the Parmesan. Sprinkle on top of the mozzarella cheese.
  6. Bake until the cheese has melted and everything is bubbling (maybe 20 minutes). Serve with extra Parmesan.

11 comments:

Cate said...

I actually have shelves full of books I would never part with: cookbooks, fiction, memoir, nonfiction. I could whittle down my collection to my absolute favorites if it were absolutely necessary, but having books around makes me happy, and I do re-read many of them. That said, I use Paperback Swap constantly to pass on books that I know I won't read again.

Onto the food...I've never liked eggplant, but looking at this pasta dish is making me hungry. I might have to try it soon!

Elsa said...

I have a ton of classic novels that I would never part with. Mostly I sold college books. I hate to part with them, but they've been in storage for years and I figured it I hadn't look at them in all these years then I probably never would. I've been working on de-cluttering my house and getting rid of what we don't need (our house is small and I tend to be a pack rat). I would never part with my cookbooks though. I have TONS of them.

Kate said...

Odd that you did that. I just literally took 3 or 4 boxes of books/old papers/etc to the recycling center.

And this sounds terrible but I can't handle more than 3 hours with D before we start picking at each other like brother and sister. (For the record, it's not just D. I do that with everyone. I am most definately happiest alone).

Alea Milham said...

When ever we move the books make up the bulk of the weight. We have wide hallways and they are lined with book shelves. Books I would never part with: Austen's novels, Morrison's History of the US (I could part with his 13 volumes on the War in the Pacific, but my husband couldn't) McCollough's biographies, Shara's historical fictions, Oscar Wilde's plays, and Emily Dickinson's poems. I could part with most of the cookbooks on my shelves, I almost never use them, but could never part with my compilation of recipes from friends and family over the years.

Your creamy roasted eggplant looks wonderful. I love the use of walnuts on top. I came up with a new casserole tonight and I thought it would be good with a topping. I didn't want to use cheese (we are avoiding dairy) or bread crumbs (we are gluten free) so I was kind of stumped. I ended up making gluten free bread crumbs, but I am going to file your chopped nut topping away for future use. Thanks for sharing your recipe with the Gallery of Favorites.

Zoe said...

I'm never a book peron except for cook books. *shame* *shame*...

Adding walnuts in pasta bake for extra crunch is such a great idea. I love it.

Mexico in my kitchen said...

Just a look at that picture you can tell the pasta was good, great idea adding nuts.

About the books, now you got me thinking. I usually buy them at half.com but when the ones I do not want I drop them at my local public library store and get a Tax deduction paper. Now I am wondering if I should sell them in half.com.

I put away a box with cooking books last weekend and still wondering if they will sell OK online.

What type of postal service you used to ship them?

Mely

Miss Michelle said...

mmmm delicious! glad i stopped by from the link party!

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