Ziti with Eggplant and Dried Tomato

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1  medium onion, cut into 8 wedges
2  tablespoons olive oil
1  medium eggplant (about 1 pound), halved lengthwise
6  ounces dried ziti, rigatoni, or penne pasta
1/3  recipe Dried Tomato Pesto (see recipe below)
1/4  teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2  tablespoons crumbled goat cheese (chevre) or feta cheese (optional)
   Snipped fresh basil (optional)

1. Place onion in a large shallow baking pan; brush with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Roast in a 425 degree F oven for 10 minutes; stir. Brush eggplant with remaining olive oil. Place eggplant in pan, cut sides down. Roast 15 minutes more or until onion is golden brown and eggplant is tender.
2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Add Dried Tomato Pesto and black pepper to pasta; toss gently to coat. Transfer pasta to a warm serving dish; keep warm. 

3. Cut eggplant into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Toss eggplant and onion with pasta. Season to taste with salt. Top with cheese and basil, if desired. Makes 4 servings. 
Dried Tomato Pesto: Drain 3/4 cup oil-pack dried tomatoes, reserving oil. Add enough olive oil to the reserved oil to make 1/2 cup; set aside. Place tomatoes, 1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds, 1/4 cup snipped fresh basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 4 teaspoons bottled minced garlic in a food processor. Cover; process until finely chopped. With machine running, gradually add the oil, processing until almost smooth. Divide pesto into thirds. Refrigerate or freeze unused portions. Makes three 1/3-cup portions. 
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