Have you ever had rigatoni pasta?
It’s like penne, but larger, and the ends are cut straight rather than at an angle like penne. Because the whole inside is larger, more chunky sauces can get inside the pasta, which is always a good thing. Good and delicious.
I love trying different pasta shapes. Now that I’m back in the U.S. this is much easier to do. I don’t know why, but if you get pasta in an Italian restaurant (or any restaurant) in Japan, 99% of the time it’s spaghetti. It doesn’t matter what kind of sauce it is, it’s almost always going to be spaghetti. I got so tired of spaghetti in Japan, so I’m having a great time now fixing different types of pasta.
Did you know there are over 500 different types of pasta in the world today? That boggles my mind. But in a good way. I dream of trying them all… Much like I dream of trying every type of cheese in the cheese section at Whole Foods. Mmmm, cheese… That’s my new year’s resolution for this year. That and to exercise a whole lot in order to burn off the calories from all the cheese I plan on eating.
While I don’t know all the 500 different types of pasta out there, I found a site, here, that introduces quite a few, and describes what kinds of sauces they go well with.
I tried another Jamie Oliver recipe last night. This one is adapted from a recipe in his cookbook Jamie’s Dinners.
It’s a nice, chunky vegetable sauce with tomatoes, eggplant, onion, and garlic in it. You mix in fresh basil leaves and chunks of fresh mozzarella right at the end, so when you serve it, the basil has gone all fragrant and the mozzarella is just turning into melted, stringy delight. All in all, it’s a nice, hearty vegetable pasta dish, with some lovely cheesy goodness as well.
Rigatoni with Tomatoes, Eggplant, and Mozzarella
(serves 4 – 5)
- 1 lb. dried rigatoni pasta
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large eggplant, cubed
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 (14 oz.) cans of tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 1 bunch fresh basil, leaves shredded, stalks diced
- 4 Tbsp. cream
- 7 oz. fresh mozzarella
- Heat 4 – 5 Tbsp. of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add cubed eggplant and stir to coat eggplant in oil evenly. Cook eggplant for 8 – 10 minutes.
- Add onion and garlic and cook for 4 – 5 minutes more.
- Add tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and diced basil stalks. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain pasta, reserving a little of the water (about 1/4 – 1/3 cup).
- Season pasta sauce with salt and pepper to taste, and add cream.
- Add pasta and reserved water to sauce. Add torn up pieces of mozzarella cheese and shredded basil leaves. Mix everything until pasta is well coated and mozzarella has started to melt. Serve immediately.