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Rigatoni With Eggplant and Cherry Tomatoes

Wow, meat is sky-high in the grocery store right now. So in addition to trying to save some money, did you know it's also good to have some meatless dinners? If you follow the Mediterranean way of living, it suggests eating less meat and eating more vegetables and grains. So I’ve decided to add meatless Monday recipes to my blog. I love eggplant. I find people really love it or loathe it, there is not much in between. Did you know eggplant is considered a fruit? Eggplant has antioxidants like vitamins A and C, which help protect your cells against damage. It's also high in natural plant chemicals called polyphenols, which may help cells do a better job of processing sugar if you have diabetes. Tonight’s meal is so simple, but packed with flavor, and the price tag is pretty good too!

You will need:

1 eggplant

1 cup cherry tomatoes halved

2 -3 minced garlic cloves

Olive oil

Red pepper flakes

1/2 box Rigatoni pasta

Grated pecorino or Parmesan

Basil shredded

Spray oil like Pam

Salt and pepper

First cut the eggplant into 1/2 in slices. Salt each side and place between paper towels to absorb the water. 15 minutes will do it. This allows the eggplant to crisp up more when baking. Wipe the salt off the eggplant then cut it into cubes. Spread out on a baking sheet that's been sprayed with oil. Spray oil on top of the eggplant, then toss eggplant a bit with your hands and lay it out evenly on a baking sheet. Bake in oven at 400 until light brown about 20 minutes. If your oven has a convection roast setting then choose that. You can even use your air fryer on roast. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the directions, preferably a little al dente. While the pasta is boiling, coat a large frying pan with oil, and add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Once the garlic is light brown, add the tomatoes, Cook for about 5 min then add eggplant. Toss until coated with garlic and olive oil. With a slotted spoon take pasta straight from the water and put it into the eggplant/tomato mixture. Toss until everything is mixed well. Serve in bowls with freshly grated cheese, another drizzle of olive oil, basil, and even some extra red pepper flakes if desired.

Mangia Y’all!

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