Dairy-Free

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.

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.

Servings
6

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 12 oz. dried penne pasta
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (1 3/4 oz.), toasted
  • 15- to 19-oz. can cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups cooked cannellini beans
  • 28-oz. can whole plum (Italian-style) tomatoes, drained
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 lb. eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes (4 cups)

Preparation

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.