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Rigatoni Melanzana from Mike’s Deli


  • 1-pound rigatoni
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon diced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 small eggplant, diced into ¼-inch cubes
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • 20 spinach leaves, julienned


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat the grill pan on the stove top over medium-high heat. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook to al dente, about 7 to 9 minutes. Drain the pasta. Clean the chicken and slice lengthwise into ½-inch-wide stripes. In a mixing bowl, toss the chicken with 1 tablespoon of garlic, 2tablespoons of the olive oil, and salt and pepper. Grill the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, then place it on a sheet pan and bake it in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven, let cool, then cut it into smaller strips, about 1-inch long. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the remaining olive oil and sauté the eggplant until cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cream, pasta, parmesan, chicken, the remaining garlic, and mix well. Add the tomato sauce and spinach. Allow to heat through and serve.

** Tip ** : Rigatoni is served here with chicken in a pink eggplant sauce. The dish is rich with an almost meaty flavor and texture even without the chicken, which can easily be omitted for a vegetarian version.