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08.21.2006

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old thyme delights culinary classics for all
by Kiera Tara O'Brien 
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1 2 3 4 5 6 7
continued from page 6

the veggies-only household (cont.)

baked rigatoni with eggplant, thyme and garlic sauce

1 large eggplant, roughly 2 lbs
8 ounces rigatoni
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
crushed leaves from 3 springs of fresh thyme (or 2 pinches of dried thyme)
½ head of garlic, minced
2 cups milk
1 pinch nutmeg
2 Tbsp chopped basil (or 1 tsp dried basil)
1 bay leaf
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp virgin olive oil
½ tsp salt
1 pinch black pepper

serves 4

1 Preheat your oven to 375 F or 190C.
2 Wash the eggplant and slice into ½-inch thick rounds, then into strips and finally cubes. Place these in a colander and toss with the salt. Set aside.
3 Combine the minced or crushed garlic with the milk, nutmeg, basil, bay leaf and thyme in a small sauce pan on low heat.
4 In another sauce pan, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Cook for several minutes on low heat, then whisk in the milk and herb mixture with the salt. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Add half of the parmesan cheese and stir.
5 Boil the rigatoni pasta to desired softness.
6 Retrieve the eggplant, rinse and pat it dry. Heat the oil in a skillet and toss the eggplant in. Cook on a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, tossing often, until lightly browned. Add a pinch of salt and pepper over the top.
7 Lightly butter or oil an 8"x10" baking dish. Mix the pasta with two-thirds of the sauce and the eggplant pieces and set in the dish. Add the rest of the sauce over the top and sprinkle the rest of the cheese to make a crust.
8 Bake for 25 minutes, or until the ‘crust’ is bubbly and golden brown. Wait a few minutes before serving.

For an official dinner party, dress the dish up with fresh thyme sprigs laid on top, a leafy green salad and a side of crusty french bread, brushed with butter and crushed fresh garlic, and toasted under the broiler or in a toaster oven for 5 minutes.

o

Kiera Tara O'Brien loves to munch the finest cuisine while pursuing her publishing and freelance writing career. About to migrate from Oslo to London, her former abodes include San Diego, Australia and Chile. She loves old movies, Louis Armstrong's 'La Vie en Rose' and chocolate chip scones from a proper British bakery. Pop a question or drop a comment to kiera.tara@gmail.com.

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