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Patio-Perfect Penne Pasta

Contributed by: News Canada

(NC) - With the summer weather upon us, outdoor entertaining is on the minds of Canadians. Whether it's hosting a party dockside at the cottage or spending the afternoon with friends and family on an urban patio, we're always looking for that easy, yet delicious recipe that will have guests exclaiming amore!

A classic Tuscan recipe from Castello di Gabbiano's estate restaurant, Penne con Melanzana (penne pasta with grilled eggplant) is a perfect pairing of penne pasta, an Italian staple, and a local summer-fresh vegetable, like eggplant.


  • 1 pound eggplant
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • salt and coarsely ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


Cut the eggplant into 1/2" slices and soak in cold water. Pat the eggplant dry, brush with olive oil and grill until nicely browned. Grilling the eggplant before sautéing adds a wonderful flavour to the dish.

In a large sauté pan, heat the remaining olive oil. Cut the grilled eggplant into 1" pieces and sauté with the diced garlic, about 3 minutes.

Add the pine nuts, tomato paste, capers and chili flakes. Continue to cook about 2 minutes. Stir in the water, add salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare the penne pasta and serve with the eggplant sauce and grated Parmesan cheese.


This light, yet slightly spicy pasta is best served with a salad and a dry, medium-bodied wine like Gabbiano's Chianti.

Serving Size: Makes 4 - 6 Servings

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