This Eggplant Walnut Basil Pasta is a simple yet scrumptious and hearty summer dish which is ready in 30 minutes.
As some of you might remember I don’t get to see Andrey very often over the last year since he’s been studying in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This is obviously a sad part. We do believe it’s going to be settled soon, though.
As you know, many sad things have a positive side.
You might ask me where do I see the positive side to this story?
Well, I’ve been enjoying the meals Andrey will never try. Particularly, when it comes to making pasta, he’s very picky. He would have had rejected this Raspberry Poppy Seed Pasta. When I made this Cherry Mint Pistachio Pasta, Andrey was on vacation at home. Well, knowing him for many years, I even didn’t suggest to give it a try. When he saw my plate, he noticed “Hmm, looks not bad. Enjoy”.
If you think Andrey enjoyed this Eggplant Walnut Basil Pasta, I’m going to disappoint you. Certainly, he does love pasta. Also, he doesn’t mind eggplant once in a while, preferably stuffed and baked.
But pasta combined with eggplant? This is a huge NO.
I cannot judge him, though. Not everyone has such a sophisticated palate as I do (And certainly, not everyone is as humble as I am). Some things take time, and we’re working on them. For instance, I wouldn’t try blue cheese the decade ago. Now it’s dangerous to buy it because I won’t stop until it’s gone. Indeed, the same has been happening to Andrey. Nope, he’s not a blue cheese lover yet, but he doesn’t reject it (in a small amount) anymore.
Eggplant Walnut Basil Pasta
As for me, I do love pasta with eggplant. Combined with fresh basil, walnuts (Yes, I do like nuts in my pasta as well), and ricotta, this is one of the best kinds of pasta to enjoy on a summer day. Are you with me?
By the way, last year I made the similar dish, Eggplant Ricotta Pasta Salad so you might like it too. How funny – I used the same plate and the similar props to shoot that salad. I’m telling you – I am a boring person with a lack of imagination.
There’s one thing I’d love to share with you once again. If you like eggplant, you know that eggplant is a tricky vegetable because it absorbs oil and liquids like a sponge. It may absorb as much fat as you keep adding. As a result, you might get too oily and soggy vegetable. There’s nothing worse to me. Grrr! Many years ago I tried an approach which I’ve been enjoying since that. The answer is simple, no oil while cooking at all! The result – well-cooked and delicious eggplant. You can add a little of fat almost at the end of cooking or drizzle the cooked vegetable with olive or other (like walnut) oil. Try it, and you won’t be disappointed! Just make sure to grab a good pan because the eggplant might stick to the bottom of it.
And I certainly hope you love the combo of pasta and eggplant, and this Eggplant Walnut Basil Pasta is right up your alley!
- 1,5-2 cups dry pasta
- 1 small eggplant (2 cups cubed)
- 1 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp. walnut oil
- 1/3 cup fresh basil + more to garnish
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup ricotta
- Cook the pasta in a pot of salted water as recommended on package, until al dente. Drain reserving a little of water.
- In a meanwhile, heat a pan over medium heat. Place the eggplant (without adding any oil) and cook about 7 minutes or a little longer (the eggplant should release the water and start getting crisp and brown), turning occasionally.
- Decrease heat to medium or low medium. Add the walnut oil, garlic and cook 3-4 minutes, covered.
- Season with the salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Stir in the walnuts and basil. Cook 3-4 minutes more (you can increase heat to get the eggplant better cooked).
- Mix the cooked pasta with the eggplant. Add a little of the reserved water, if the pasta is dry.
- Serve immediately, with ricotta and extra basil.