roasted eggplant pasta

This recipe requires just a bit of planning ahead -- you need to roast the whole eggplant for an hour before getting the rest of dinner underway. But your efforts pay off with an eggplant that's buttery sweet and a great foundation for your pasta.

roasted eggplant pasta
serves 4

1 large Italian eggplant
olive oil
1/4 onion, finely minced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teas dried red pepper flakes
1 can/jar tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped (reserve a bit of the liquid)
herbs and spices: oregano, basil, parsley, dried or fresh, your choice
fresh parmesan cheese
cayenne pepper
dried pasta for 4

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash eggplant and prick with a fork in several places. Place whole on parchement-lined baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until skin darkens and caves to the touch (so you know the insides are mushy.) Remove from oven and let cool just a bit. To prepare for cooking, cut off the top and roughly chop the body into 1-2" pieces.

In saucepan over medium heat, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Add onion and saute for a few minutes, until onions are soft. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute 30 seconds more. Add prepared eggplant and drained tomatoes. Season with salt, stir in any dried herbs, and bring to a simmer. You may want to add a little of the drained tomato liquid for desired consistency. At the end of cooking, before serving, stir through fresh chopped herbs.

Meanwhile, prepare pasta al dente and drain. Combine pasta and sauce and divide among serving dishes. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and a dash of cayenne pepper.

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