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Travel to the Italian Riviera with tagliatelle and eggplant cream

Rowena Dumlao-Giardina resides in Italy, cooking and photographing her family's interesting meals on Apron and Sneakers. After moving to Italy in 1999 from the Philippines, she has traveled extensively around the country and the rest of ...

Learn how to make eggplant cream for your Italian Riviera-inspired pasta dish

When it comes to pasta, there's an endless assortment of ingredients that can be put together to create a delicious dish. This time, we are using only the healthy ingredients in a phenomenal combination. Ready?

We usually have problems putting together a 100 percent healthy dish that makes us swoon with happiness. But that can happen with this recipe, inspired by the pasta dish I tried once in a restaurant while in the Italian Riviera. It's not exactly the same as the one I had, because I couldn't possibly go into the kitchen and ask the chef for his recipe, but as soon as I had the chance, in the comfort of my own kitchen, I put together what I remembered of the taste of that delicious dish. I used only three fresh ingredients for the sauce, combining them with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. The result is not only super healthy but also tasty enough to make you go for seconds.

Learn how to make eggplant cream for your Italian Riviera-inspired pasta dish

Tagliatelle with eggplant cream, tomatoes and basil recipe

Don't be put off by the baking of the eggplants and blanching of the tomatoes. You just pop the eggplants into the oven and peel the skins off the tomatoes, and dinner is ready. This is one of those inspiring dishes I tasted while on the Italian Riviera last summer, with fresh vegetables and simplicity in cooking.

Serves 4

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Total time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 large, round eggplants or 4 long eggplants, sliced in half vertically
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus extra for drizzling on the cooked pasta dish
  • Salt and pepper
  • 14 ounces tagliatelle, fresh or dried
  • Fresh basil leaves

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place the eggplants skin side up onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes.
  3. In a large saucepan over high heat, bring some water to a boil.
  4. While waiting for the water to boil, make a shallow, crisscross incision at the bottom of each tomato. To a medium bowl, add ice and water to use as an ice water bath for the tomatoes.
  5. When the water boils, drop the tomatoes into the saucepan, and cook for 1 minute or until the skins start to split open.
  6. Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water with a slotted spoon. Do not turn off the heat, because you need it to cook the tagliatelle once the eggplant cream and tomatoes are ready. Fresh tagliatelle cooks in 3 minutes, while dry tagliatelle cooks in about 6 minutes.
  7. Into the ice water bath, drop the tomatoes, and then peel away the skins, beginning from the incision. Slice the tomatoes in half or quarters, and then set them aside in a dry bowl.
  8. When the eggplants are cooked, scoop the pulp out from the skin, and then place the pulp into a blender. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper. Adjust the amount according to your taste. Pulse until smooth, and set aside.
  9. Into the saucepan with the boiling water, sprinkle some salt, and then cook the tagliatelle according to the package directions. Drain, reserving some of the water if you want to make the pasta dish less dense.
  10. In a bowl, mix together the eggplant cream, tagliatelle, tomatoes and basil. Drizzle with olive oil, and serve.

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