As part of my healthy “Mediterranean” diet campaign, I recently purchased a nice, ripe, pleasant looking “aubergine”. To remain true to the spirit of Mediterranea, I came up with this method of preparing it, Italian style.
Pasta di Melanzane
- 3 Ts extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lg eggplant, approx. 3 Cs
- 1 lg shallot, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 16 ozs stewed tomatoes, sliced
- 1 T tomato paste
- 2 Ts balsamic vinegar
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 Ts fresh basil leaves, chepped
- 1 lb spaghetti
- ¼ C Parmesan cheese, grated
Cut the ends off of the eggplant, then cut it in half. Cut 1 half into 1/16″ crescent-shaped slices, the other into 1/16″ strips.
Add enough olive oil to the pan to saute the eggplant. Heat the oil until ready to fry (a droplet of water will sizzle when it’s ready”. Add the crescent-shaped eggplant, fry until a golden brown, then remove the pieces from the oil and set aside. Repeat the process with the eggplant strips.
Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and heat. Add shallots and garlic, then saute until clear. Add tomato paste, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and allow to simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
Stir the cooked eggplant into the saute mixture, add basil, and simmer for another 4 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the pasta, al dente, by boiling it for 8 to 9 minutes, then drain and sprinkle with olive oil.
In a large bowl or serving dish, toss the pasta and the eggplant mixture, until thoroughly blended.
Serve immediately with grated parmesan sprinkled on top.
Note: A nice slice or 2 of fresh Italian bread would be a nice accompaniment to the dish!