Eggplant Ricotta Pasta Salad is one delicious, light, and satisfying summer meal.
But I’ve got one serious question first. It’s truly a philosophical issue which we should resolve.
What’s the difference between a regular pasta dish and a pasta salad? Can we distinguish between them? Is this Eggplant Ricotta Pasta Salad really a salad?
Well, let’s try to figure this out.
First of all, pasta is normally served while hot, so we can assume a pasta salad might be served when chilled. Sounds simple. And that might be the truth. But what about a warm pasta salad, eh? In fact, I ate this Eggplant Ricotta Pasta Salad a little lukewarm, so this thesis doesn’t always work.
Next, a pasta salad is something that could be considered a side dish. I believe it might work for many people. Not for me, though. I always have my pasta salads, like this Tomato Pasta Salad
, as the main dish. It’s always satisfying, and besides I just don’t want to mix it with anything else.
What’s next? Obviously, a salad usually consists of some greens. And I love adding peppery robust arugula in pasta salads. But what about any regular pasta? The same story! You can garnish a bowl of hot pasta with some arugula or other leaves, or get them slightly wilted with the sauce, or make a pesto! Getting complicated, isn’t it?
All right, I have one thing left. It’s very solid one. Or might be not.
Dressing! Dressing is a must for any salad. If we are talking about a classic macaroni salad which is often dressed with a mayo sauce, this is 100% a correct example. You don’t add mayo in a classic Italian pasta dish, do you? If you do…well…sorry, I’ve got a bad news for you, kids. But personally I don’t like heavy sauces in my pasta salads so I usually just slightly drizzle them with olive oil and balsamic.
And you know what? I do use olive oil while making pasta. And yes, sometimes I add a little of balsamic as well!
Stop. I guess we are going nowhere.
But I think it’s absolutely fine, guys. Pasta or pasta salad…whatever you call a dish, the only one thing that matters is its taste. And trust me, this Eggplant Ricotta Pasta Salad won’t disappoint you.
What’s you favorite summer pasta salad?
Have you ever added mayo in Italian pasta?
Eggplant Ricotta Pasta Salad
Eggplant Ricotta Pasta Salad with tomatoes, basil, and walnuts.
1,5 cups dry pasta
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and sliced
6-8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
handful of basil
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, crushed
1 small eggplant (1-1,5 cups sliced)
a good drizzle of olive oil and balsamic
Place the sliced eggplant on a dry skillet and cook over medium heat 5 minutes, turning once. By this time the excessive liquids will have been released. At this point you can slightly season the eggplant with the salt and pepper - no oil is still required. Continue cooking over high heat for another 5-6 minutes, flipping over them occasionally, until slightly brown and soft*
In a meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Rinse under running water (to stop cooking process) and drain.
Place the pasta, eggplant, sun-dried and dresh tomatoes, basil, arugula in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic and mix. You can serve the salad immediately or keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
Sprinkle with the walnuts and ricotta and serve.
* This method prevents eggplant from being soggy and oily how it often happens while roasting eggplant. You can also roast them in the oven or fry with a little oil on the skillet.