I had pretty much been through all of my standard food magazines last week, so I reluctantly picked up a copy of Martha Stewart Living at the airport. I was skeptical, but I got a pretty amazing recipe out of it: Pennoni pasta with grilled eggplant, burrata cheese, thai chilis, and mint. It looked pretty incredible, so I used it as inspiration for my dinner the next night.

Whole Foods was out of burrata, so I used buffalo mozzarella to get a comparable creamy texture. I also couldn’t find a Thai chili in my quick grocery trip, so I used a serrano. Finally, I went with rigatoni instead of searching out the Pennoni pasta shape. I was in a hurry to get dinner on the table!

The grilled eggplant gave a great charred flavor, but also turned nicely creamy when mixed with the pasta. The combination of the eggplant and buffalo mozzarella made a luxuriously creamy sauce. The mint gave it some brightness and the chili gave it a nice kick. Another bonus – the dish came together extremely fast.

Rigatoni with Grilled Eggplant, Buffalo Mozzarella, and Mint
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
7 oz. rigatoni
Extra virgin olive oil
1 medium eggplant
1 serrano chili
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ tsp. lemon zest
½ tbsp. lemon juice
Fresh mint, thinly sliced
3 ½ oz Buffalo mozzarella
Salt and Pepper

Heat the grill to high. Cut the eggplant lengthwise in ½ – ¾ inch slices and brush with olive oil. Grill, turning occasionally, until soft and cooked through.

Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Chop coarsely.

Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic until golden. Add the chili about halfway through cooking the garlic. When the garlic is cooked, add the cooked eggplant. Season with salt.

Cook the pasta to al dente, reserving some pasta water. Add the pasta to the skillet, along with a small ladle of reserved pasta water, the lemon zest, and lemon juice. Keep adding pasta water until the sauce reaches the consistency you want. Season with salt and pepper.

Finally, remove from the heat and stir in the burrata and mint.

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