Welcome to my world - a blend of passion, taste, and old-world traditions.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Penne with Eggplant and Mint Pesto - Penne con Melanzane e Pesto di Menta

Mint is a very fresh and tasty spice, unfortunately, little used in the culinary world.  We enjoy it in string beans.  Not everyone knows but mint makes also a great pesto sauce for pasta.
This dish is a splendid variation on the classic Italian Pesto.  I use fresh mint from my garden rather than basil for a different flavor.  
   

 Ingredients
 3 small eggplants or 2 large ones
1 lb. penne
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 oz. walnut halves


For the Pesto
2 oz. fresh mint minced
3 oz. walnuts minced
2 cloves of garlic minced
1/3 cup of olive oil
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes in oil
Salt and pepper

Procedure
Cut the eggplants into short strips.  Place eggplant strips in a colander with salt and leave to stand for 30 minutes.  Rinse well and drain.  Squeeze to remove excess moisture.  In a pan, add 2 tablespoons of oil and saute' eggplant for few minutes on medium heat.  Set aside.

Cook penne until nearly cooked.  Drain and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.   Put cooked penne back into the pot.  Add reserved water.  Place pasta pot over the stove on low heat.  Add the eggplant, minced mint, garlic, walnuts, red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Stir gently and mix well.   Cook the pasta for few minutes.  Add walnut halves and serve immediately.

Penne with eggplant and Mint Pesto
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