I recently had a dish by this name at the Cheesecake Factory and totally fell in love! Normally, I am all for having sauce with my pasta, but this had so much going on that I didn't miss it at all! I immediately wrote down everything that was in the dish so I could recreate it at home. Of course, I loved the combination of flavors, but the other great part was the combination of textures. Soft pasta and roasted eggplant contrasted by crunchy pine nuts and roasted broccoli. This is definitely a new favorite in our house.
Evelyn's Favorite Pasta
Based on the dish from The Cheesecake Factory
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced, pressed or grated
salt and pepper
2 chinese eggplant
1 large head broccoli
1 can artichoke hearts, halved or quartered
15 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (choose low fat to make it clean)
1/3 cup prepared pesto
8-12 ounces penne pasta (choose whole wheat or multigrain (we like Barilla Plus) to make it clean)
handful of fresh basil, cut into a chiffonade
Remove the ends from the eggplant. Slice the long way, in thirds, and lay on a cutting board. Salt cut sides of eggplant very well, cover with paper towel and then another cutting board. Place a weight on top of the board. Let stand for 30 minutes, then rinse the eggplant well and cut into 2 inch long pieces.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. When the eggplant is ready and chopped, place in a large bowl. Add chopped broccoli, artichokes, and tomatoes. Combine garlic and olive oil in a small bowl with about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; mix well. Add olive oil mixture to the vegetables and toss to coat. Spread on a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with olive oil. Roast vegetables for about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, start heating water for the pasta in a large stock pot. Heat a small saute pan over medium heat, and add the pine nuts. Heat for a few minutes, tossing frequently, until nuts are lightly toasted, then set aside the nuts. When the pasta water has come to a boil, salt generously and add the pasta. Cook according the time instructed on the box.
When pasta is done, drain and add to a large bowl. Add roasted vegetables, kalamatas, cheese, pesto, and toss to combine. Serve and garnish with toasted pine nuts and basil.