We are starting a new way of organizing recipes on Think Tasty. For the past year we have focused on a different type of recipe each month, e.g. desserts. I think we did a great job, but change is good. We now will be focusing on different biweekly food themes. For the next two weeks we will focus on noodles. Conveniently, this recipe, which was supposed to be just a simple dinner for one, became my first of two noodle recipes.
My husband was away on business this past week. With only our 17 year old daughter at home but on winter break, there wasn’t a lot of cooking to do. I’m pretty happy with a caesar salad topped with grilled chicken. However, after a couple nights of that, I wanted to alter my dinner menu a bit. I knew we had leftover ricotta in the refrigerator and wondered how I could incorporate that into a dinner for myself.
Cooking only for myself, my mind turns to vegetarian options. Not that I’m opposed to meat but I enjoy the simplicity of meatless meals. My first inclination was to purchase an eggplant and create some sort of Italian bake. The dish that I made was perfect for me- layers of roasted eggplants, ricotta, and marinara topped with a sprinkling of mozzarella.
However, as I took my fork and knife to the dish and cut it into bite-sized pieces, I had a revelation. If I took all of these ingredients, and mixed them instead of layering them, and then added some pasta, I would have a heartier dish that would satisfy my husband’s appetite. Because it is so easy to make, it would be simple to make this dish as both a bake and a pasta dish.
Pleasing both the noodle-lovers and the noodle-averse, job done!
- 1 eggplant
- olive oil
- 8 oz. ricotta
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 8 oz. rotini, cooked according to directions
- shredded mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Slice eggplant crosswise into 1/2″ slices. Brush both sides with olive oil and place on rimmed baking sheet
- Bake for 10 minutes, flip, and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- While eggplant bakes, combine ricotta, egg, onion powder, and basil in a large mixing bowl.
- Remove eggplant from oven, cool for 2 minutes, and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Add eggplant to ricotta mixture, and stir well.
- Add pasta and desired amount of marinara to ricotta/eggplant mixture. Stir.
- Transfer to an oven-safe baking dish that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray. Top with mozzarella.
- Bake for 20 minutes.