Simply Healthy Family: Eggplant & Tomato Rustic Pasta Bake


Eggplant & Tomato Rustic Pasta Bake

The fresh herbs are the key component of this rustic dish. Since there is no sauce, the flavors come from the herbs and roasting of the veggies.The ricotta is dropped in by spoonfuls throughout the pasta adding a wonderful, creamy, rich flavor that is
guilt free!

I love this pasta made with semolina! I get mine at Costco in a variety pack, they also have spagetti noodles. It cooks up perfectly and is so much better for you than "white, enriched" pasta. I've tried to love whole wheat pasta but just can't get past the gritty, cardboard taste. Semolina is just as good for you and tastes wonderful.

Actually, even though 100% durum wheat isn’t as dark of a color as something labeled “whole wheat,” it actually is a coarsely ground whole grain. Durum wheat is a class of wheat. Durum wheat is preferred for pasta because it is high in protein, dense and strong. Semolina is 100 % whole grain, because it contains the entire wheat berry ( the entire wheat kernel, without the hull, which contains the bran, germ, and endosperm.) and the full spectrum of nutrients and fiber. In contrast, “white” pasta is refined and processes out much of the nutritional value. In short, duram semolina is the gritty coarse particles of wheat left after the finer flour has passed through a bolting machine.

Prep Time: 60 minutes
Cook Time: 30 min. & 20 min.
Serves 6-8

You will need:

9 oz. of Semolina, Rigattoni pasta, cooked according to package
about 1 cup of Ricotta Cheese ( or lowfat cottage cheese)
2 medium eggplants (pick eggplants that are firm and shiny)
12-14 Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 Vidallia Onion (sweet onion)
1 medium Red Bell Pepper (High in vitamins C, B6, A and E and Iron, Fiber & Potassium.)
fresh herbs, Thyme, Oregano, Basil and Parsley
Kosher salt for preparing eggplant

Putting it all Together:

~ First! Peel eggplant with a butcher knife; don't be afraid to try new veggies, they LOVE you! I don't worry about peeling it perfectly. I like to leave a bit of the skin on, it looks pretty.
~ Slice the eggplant into about 1 1/2 inch slices. Then, cut slices into quarters. Place cut eggplant into large colander a bit at a time sprinkling generously with salt after each layer. This extracts the slight bitter taste. I fill a bowl or large zip lock bag with water and place it on top of the eggplant to help extract the juices. Leave alone for 30-40 minutes.
~ Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400̊ . Cut your cherry tomatoes in half. Cut your onion and RBP into pieces as big as the tomatoes.
~ Place all veggies except eggplant into a large bowl and drizzle with 1 tsp of EVOO, mix to coat (I've found you need to use less oil when you do it this way). Put on baking sheet and into oven for 15 minutes. Remove, set aside.
~ Rinse eggplant under cold running water very well to remove salt. Put them on a kitchen towel, pat to dry. Put eggplant into the same bowl you used for the onion & RBP and drizzle them with a TBSP EVOO, toss to coat. Eggplant soaks up oil so don't use too much! It doesn't need to look evenly coated.
~ Spread evenly on baking sheet and cook at 400̊ for 15 minutes. Don't crowd your veggies or they will steam and be soggy. You want to roast them not steam them.
~ While eggplant is roasting, boil pasta al dente.
~ Put all veggies along with cooked pasta into a casserole dish.
~ Roughly chop and then sprinkle all the herbs onto pasta mix.
~ Gently toss ingredients around to combine and to coat the dish with oil.
Drop Ricotta Cheese by spoonfuls onto pasta mix.
Bake at 400̊ for about 20 minutes.

I hope I didn't make that sound difficult because it really isn't!
I just feel the need to explain things in detail.
Let me know what you guys think. I would really appreciate any and all comments or suggestions!


Serving Size 1 (332g)
Recipe makes 6 servings
Calories 309
Calories from Fat 78 (25%)

Amount Per Serving %DV
Total Fat 8.7g 13%
Saturated Fat 3.9g 19%
Monounsaturated Fat 3.3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.9g
Trans Fat 0.0g
Cholesterol 20mg 6%
Sodium 43mg 1%
Potassium 676mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 47.2g 15%
Dietary Fiber 8.6g 34%
Sugars 7.3g
Protein 12.7g 25%


  1. Anonymous4/18/2010

    This pasta dish and all of your recipes look great. I am struggling with the kitchen brain freeze that comes with trying to feed DAILY a newly proclaimed vegetarian teen daughter, a finicky husband and two semi-finicky middle school-aged boys: your posted selections speak to my pain! LOL. Thanks for the honest prep time estimates (so many recipes underestimate prep time) and don't apologize for providing the cooking details! I'm not clueless in the kitchen, but I do need to know on the spot how to cook eggplant so that it doesn't ruin the dish I'm preparing. That is, I have a full-time career in addition to caring for my family and our home, so I don't have time to study the fine art of cooking (I think I ruined a crock pot ratatouille recipe last week by not pre-salting the eggplant--it had a very bitter aftertaste). I hope these comments help encourage you to continue what you are doing. I'll be sure to let you know how my versions of your recipes turn out! :) It sounds to me that you have a wonderful, supportive family. They are blessed to have you caring for them, too. ~c.

  2. Wow, I really appreciate your time to write such a great comment. It is encouraging, thank you! I try really hard to make natural,healthy, realistic meals that my whole family will eat. I hear from people all the time that they don't have the time to cook "healthy" I really, really hope to change that attitude in people. It's not harder to cook healthy than unhealthy. Knoweledge is power, and using it is priceless! I hope you check back here often! Thanks, Gwen!

  3. Yum, I love all the fresh herbs! I am a huge fan of pasta, and can you believe I have never been to a Costco? Even Martha Stewart goes. I've got to check one out one day. ☺
    Great pick for Family Style!

  4. This is a wonderful recipe! I'm loving the use of all the fresh herbs and I also agree with you. Semolina pasta is the best:)

  5. Fresh herbs really add so much great flavor--this looks delicious. Happy to see you at IHCC cooking Giada with us. ;-)

  6. This a great dish - definitely my kind of dish and one that I would make for sure :-)


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