This creamy summer pasta recipe with eggplant and tomatoes is an easy and quick dinner which captures the essence of the Mediterranean summer!
Let’s make the best of summer, while it still lasts! And this creamy summer pasta with eggplant, tomatoes and basil captures the essence of the Mediterranean summer! With just a handful of ingredients and within a few minutes, you can make a quick and light dinner full of goodness. Just make sure you pick the freshest vegetables because these are the stars of this dish.
So, opt for the juiciest, sweetest tomatoes, a firm, shiny eggplant, and some fresh basil leaves from your garden. For those of you who don’t have the luxury of a garden – just like me – know that a small pot of basil from your local market, which you can keep near a sunny window, is probably almost the same price as a bag of fresh basil from the store. 🙂
I am not the biggest fan of eggplant. I mean, when cooked the right way it can have a deep, complex flavor that may remind you of meat (that’s why I’ve used it in this soy-free vegan Bolognese sauce) but you won’t see me running to the table like a crazy person if you tell me that mousaka is for dinner. However, the combination of garlic, eggplant, and basil in this creamy summer pasta is a combination made in heaven!
What type of pasta to use for this recipe?
The type of pasta can have a significant impact on flavor. Even if two different types are made of exactly the same ingredients (usually water and semolina) their shape can affect the way the flavor is transported through our taste buds. So, even if this recipe will work well with spaghetti, it’s best to use a type of pasta like tortiglioni, rigatoni, penne, or fusilli. And no, orzo pasta is not something I would use here. If you happen to have a bag of orzo pasta just make this Mediterranean orzotto with vegetables and marinated cheese cubes for another easy and quick meatless dinner, or make a traditional Greek beef stew (Youvetsi) which is more of a Sunday dinner since it requires some extra time (but it’s soooo worth it!).
How to make eggplant less bitter
Nowadays, through selective reproduction and other farming methods, most eggplant types are less bitter than they used to be. However, if you want, you can do what most Greek women do: slice the eggplant in about half an inch thick slices and submerge it in a bowl filled with salted water. The salt will remove some of the bitterness.
Also, “male” eggplants tend to have fewer seeds and are therefore less bitter than “female” eggplants. You’ll recognize the “males” from the round indentation they have at the bottom, while the “females” have more of a linear indentation. Also, smaller eggplants tend to be less bitter. You can read more about it here.
- The type of pasta used can have an impact in flavor. Use tortiglioni, rigatoni, penne or fusilli for the best flavor.
- Slice and salt your eggplant, or place it in a bowl filled with salted water. Salt will absorb some of the bitterness. Rinse well after 10 minutes and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Don’t overcook the tomatoes! You want them firm and juicy, not mushy and soft.
- Increase the amount of yogurt for extra creaminess.
- Please don’t omit the fresh basil!
You may also like these similar recipes:
- 1 pound tortiglioni pasta
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium eggplant about 300 grams, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, whole
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 1 pound (450 grams) cherry tomatoes cut in half, or diced tomatoes
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup sliced olives
- 1 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, whole or 2%, or more to taste
- Salt and freshly grated pepper to taste
- 10-14 medium-sized basil leaves, chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons capers, optional
While you prepare the eggplant, cook the pasta according to the packaging directions, rinse it and drain well.
Heat a large skillet or a deep pan over medium/high heat and add the olive oil, the eggplant, the garlic, the salt, the pepper, and the thyme. Cook for 8-10 minutes or until eggplant is soft and tender.
Remove the garlic cloves from the pan and add the tomatoes and cook for 1 minute, then and add the yogurt, half of the feta, the basil, and the pasta. Stir and cook until feta is just starting to melt, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add the rest of the feta. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Use whole wheat pasta to make this dish more healthy.
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