You might already know that I believe in the "cook once, eat twice" philosophy in the kitchen. A lot of times when I'm cooking, I'll double the recipe and transform the leftovers into an entirely different meal on another day. It's a real timesaver during busy work weeks, and I also find it to be a fun challenge. A couple of weeks ago, I posted a recipe for my Pesto Rosso, a variation of pesto that uses a mixture of fresh cherry and sundried tomatoes. This week I decided to use the leftover pesto in a hearty pasta dish.
My Farfalle with Pesto Rosso, Eggplant and Ricotta Salata is my twist on pasta alla Norma, a classic Italian dish made with pasta, tomato sauce, fried eggplant and ricotta salata. To up the nutrition factor in the dish, I used Barilla Plus pasta, a multigrain pasta made with semolina, flaxseed, oats, barley, lentils and chickpeas. Because of this diverse mix of ingredients, it is higher in protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids than traditional pasta. Instead of tomato sauce, I tossed the pasta with my homemade pesto rosso. Also, to make the dish lighter, I baked the eggplant rather than frying it, which cut down on a good amount of oil.
A small amount of shaved ricotta salata on top completes the dish and adds a nice, salty bite. Ricotta salata is a dried cheese from Italy. It's similar to ricotta cheese in that it's made from the whey that's left over during the production of cheese. However, it differs from ricotta in that it is pressed and aged, which results in a much drier product. It has a firm texture and a salty flavor and is perfect grated or shaved on top of pasta dishes or risotto. If you don't have it, you can substitute a small amount of Pecorino Romano or feta cheese.
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