Okay, so roast it, poach it, boil it, poele it, microwave it. It doesn't matter. The idea is just to test the skin.
I wasn't suggesting eggplant with the pasta, I was suggesting it instead of the pasta; or if you prefer, as the pasta. Eggplant with the pasta, I know you have covered.
You're talking pasta 1/2" in diameter and you're willing about getting extra flavor into the meat of the vegetable? For why? Whuffo? The sauce should carry enough flavor with each bite to take care of it.
As to Asian... I'm very fond of small eggplant in black bean sauce with lots of garlic and chilli. Also, if you can get your hands on "chili garlic" sauce you could use that instead of black bean sauce. Cut the eggplant into bite size pieces, wok them in hot oil until tender, remove them. Stir fry the usual aromatics (garlic, scallion, ginger) until you get a nice smell (1 or 2 minutes at most), add a little bit of ground pork and brown it till it breaks up. Then add the sauce, some broth, some soy sauce, a healthy splash of sherry (or madeira) if you can't get Chinese cooking wine, some corn starch slurry -- you know the drill -- cook it down until the starch starts to set up the sauce. Return the eggplant to the wok, tossing it for a minute to get it hot. Then turn out and serve. If you want to cut down on the oiliness, par boil the eggplant for a minute before wokking.
You could also do the eggplant in any number of Indo/Pak ways. Look for "brinjal" recipes on the net if you don't have a lot of "curry" techniques already.
I think that diameter begs for breading, deep frying and service with "dipping sauces," like aioli, salsa verdes, chimichurri, even a "nacho cheese" fondue. You could do a nice breading mixing flour, polenta and bread crumbs in one ratio or another.