Tried Smitten Kitchen's rigatoni version with a few minor changes. It was hearty and unusual!
1 small eggplant, chopped into pieces
15 cherry tomatoes
5 pods garlic, whole
5-6 mint leaves
olive oil, 3 tbsp
crushed red pepper flakes, 1 tsp
ground black pepper, 1 tsp
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 lb penne pasta
Mix the chopped eggplant, cherry tomatoes, whole garlic cloves, pepper, red pepper flakes and salt with 1tbsp olive oil. Arrange on a tray and bake in oven for 35 mins at 350F. Let cool once done. When cooled, add this mix to a food processor along with the mint and 2tbsp olive oil. I added 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup milk (the cherry tomatoes were too sour for my liking) to make the paste smoother.
In a baking dish, roast the pine nuts at 350F for 5-6 mins.
Cook the penne pasta as per instructions on packet, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. When cooked, remove pasta from water and add the eggplant puree. Add the pine nuts and mix well. Taste for additional salt/ pepper. If you like it more saucy, add the 1/2 cup of pasta water. Serve immediately.
The eggplant and mint combination was unusual and went surprisingly well with the penne.