Eggplant & Red Pesto Orecchiette

You know good old green basil–based pesto, but have you heard about the other pesto? Red pesto has many of the same ingredients (basil, garlic, Parm, pine nuts, olive oil) plus sun-dried tomatoes and sometimes roasted red peppers. Look for jars of red pesto near the olives in the supermarket. Use it like you would green pesto: Toss with pasta like you do in this recipe, slather on crostini, or spread on a sandwich!
Publish date:
eggplant red pesto orechietta 0918

Recipe by Sarah Karnasiewicz

Start to Finish: 25 minutes

Servings: 4


  • 1/2 cup olive oil 

  • 1 eggplant (about 11/4 lb.), chopped into 3/4-inch cubes 

  • 1 tsp. fresh oregano leaves 

  • 1 cup (about 12 oz.) red (sun-dried tomato) pesto from a jar 

  • 1 lb. orecchiette 

  • 3/4 cup ricotta


1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium. Add the eggplant; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp. oregano. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the pesto. Cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes. 

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and add the pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. 

3. Add the pasta and reserved cooking water to the eggplant mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until heated through, about 2 minutes; season. Transfer the pasta to bowls. Dollop with the ricotta. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tsp. oregano.

Price per serving: $3.01