Grilled tomatoes and eggplant are the true star of this pasta dish.

Ali Ramee

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Credit: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Recipe Summary test

active:
30 mins
total:
40 mins
Servings:
6
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Meet the summertime pasta that's keeping you on your toes. Loaded with grilled vegetables, herbs, and plenty of cheese, this dish is already on repeat in our households. Consider our Rigatoni with Grilled Veggies and Mozzarella the excuse you needed to fire up the grill on a weeknight.

This vegetarian pasta dish is colorful, bright, and easy to prepare with a little planning. Here, grilled eggplant and tomatoes are the true stars, bringing a smoky note that carries through the whole dish. The acidity of the capers and the red wine vinegar brighten up the pasta, mingling in a vinaigrette that coats each noodle. The capers provide little pops of salinity that pair well with the roughly-torn bits of creamy mozzarella. Don't forget to save some pasta water, which helps to bind the sauce together.

This is a case where leftovers are just as good as, if not better than the original. This rigatoni would be great for lunch or dinner, served hot or cold (we're getting major pasta salad vibes).

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat a grill to medium-high (400°F to 450°F). Arrange eggplant rounds on a large baking sheet; drizzle evenly on both sides with 3 tablespoons of the oil, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the salt. Move eggplant to 1 half of baking sheet. Place tomato halves on other half of baking sheet; drizzle evenly with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt.

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  • Place eggplant on unoiled grates. Grill, covered, until charred and softened, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from grill; set aside. Add tomato halves, cut side down, to grates. Grill, covered and undisturbed, until charred and softened slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and cool 5 minutes. Peel off and discard tomato skins. Cut tomato pieces into quarters; cut eggplant rounds into quarters.

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high. Add pasta, and cook according to package directions.

  • Meanwhile, stir together capers, red wine vinegar, parsley, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl to combine; set aside. 

  • Drain cooked pasta, reserving ¼ cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot. Gently stir in eggplant, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, caper mixture, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in reserved cooking water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed until desired consistency. Sprinkle pasta with additional basil.

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