1 medium to large heavy eggplant
2 pints cherry tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), for drizzling, plus about ¼ cup
A few stems of thyme
Salt and pepper
1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley, tops only
A handful of mint leaves (about ¼ cup)
Zest of 1 and juice of 2 lemons
3 cloves garlic, crushed away from skins
¼ cup pistachios or pine nuts, toasted
1 rounded teaspoon chili flakes
About 1 cup grated pecorino cheese
1 pound spaghetti
eat oven to 425˚F.
Prick the skin of the eggplant along one side several times. Roast in oven on foil-lined tray until tender and resembling a flat tire, about 35 minutes. Cool to handle and peel. Pulse in food processor to a thick puree, then transfer to a large bowl.
Rinse processor bowl and return to base.
While you roast eggplant, line a second baking sheet with foil and arrange the tomatoes in a single layer. Dress with a drizzle of EVOO, season with thyme leaves, salt and pepper, and roast until lightly browned and burst.
Heat a large pot of water to a boil for pasta.
In food processor, combine the parsley, mint, lemon zest and juice, garlic, nuts, and chili flakes. Pulse into fine chop, then add salt and pepper and stream in EVOO, about ¼ cup. Pulse in the cheese.
Cook pasta in salted water to 1 minute shy of package directions, reserving a cup of boiling water just before draining.
In warm pasta pot, combine drained pasta, eggplant puree, pesto, and half the tomatoes. Adjust salt and pepper, transfer to serving bowl or individual shallow bowls and top with remaining tomatoes.