Orecchiette with Roasted Eggplant and Ricotta

Never made pasta with cinnamon and cocoa powder? You're not alone. But, you'll be amazed at the way those two flavors come together in this dish. The sweetness of caramelized onion, the smoothness of roasted eggplant, and the creaminess of ricotta cheese all contribute to make this one incredible late summer pasta dish.

Orecchiette with Roasted Eggplant and Ricotta
serves 6-8

3 lbs assorted eggplant, cleaned and cut into small cubes
2 medium onions, diced
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil, for roasting
large handful walnuts, roughly chopped
15 oz ricotta cheese
3/4 cup chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
1 cup pecorino romano cheese, grated
1 lb orecchiette pasta

Preheat oven to 425ºF
Toss eggplant and onion with cinnamon and cocoa powder. Arrange on 2-3 large baking sheets. Drizzle liberally with olive oil. Bake, stirring occasionally until tender -- about 35 minutes.

Ten minutes before the eggplant is cooked, scatter the chopped walnuts on top of the eggplant and return to the oven to finish cooking.

In a large bowl, mix ricotta parsley, romano, and salt & pepper (to taste). Set aside.

Cook orecchiette until al dente. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water when draining the pasta. Add the pasta to the ricotta mixture, adding enough pasta water to loosen the sauce. Add the roasted eggplant and mix well.

Serve hot with extra grated cheese alongside.

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Karine said...

Pasta with cacao powder? Interesting I have never thought of that combo!

Thanks for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

Maybe not a decadent dessert, but surely a decadent, savory entree!!