Penne with Eggplant, White Beans and Tomato Sauce
A pasta sauce of eggplant, tomatoes and fresh basil is an enduring classic. Add a can of cannellini beans and it gets even better. Cheese lovers might enjoy this dish with crumbled feta cheese.
½ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
12 oz. dried penne pasta
⅓ cup pine nuts (1 ¾ oz.), toasted
15- to 19-oz. can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups cooked cannellini beans
28-oz. can whole plum (Italian-style) tomatoes, drained
2 Tbs. olive oil
4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
⅛ tsp. red pepper flakes
¾ lb. eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes (4 cups)
- Bring large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
- Meanwhile, pass tomatoes through a food mill into medium bowl (or mash with a potato masher).
- In large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over low heat. Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until garlic is softened but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add mashed tomatoes, increase heat to high and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer while you brown eggplant.
- In large nonstick skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in tomato mixture and reduce heat to low. Cover loosely with foil and simmer until eggplant is very tender, about 8 minutes. Add beans and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in basil, salt and pepper.
- Shortly before sauce is ready, add penne to boiling water; stir to prevent sticking. Cook, stirring often, until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. Place penne in large warm serving bowl. Add eggplant mixture and enough reserved cooking water to moisten and toss to coat. Serve immediately, sprinkled with pine nuts.