Thursday, October 6, 2011

Eggplant Pasta

There are two types of people...Italians, and those who wish they were (as the saying goes).  I am one of those who wish they were.  The language beautiful, the country rich with history and gorgeous architecture, and the food...oh, the love of food!  I'm proud of my English and Native American heritage, and as much as I do like 'Bangers and Mash' and salmon...I'm pretty sure I could eat a big bowl of pasta every single day.  Matt, on the other hand, thinks differently.  Although he likes pasta, he doesn't want to eat it nearly as often as I do because he doesn't want all the carbs.

This Eggplant Pasta recipe is a good compromise, and Matt likes it as much as I like a plate of whole wheat linguine with a thick tomato basil sauce.  He made it very clear that I can make this one again :)  This is a recipe from food science expert Alton Brown and comes from the Food Network Favorites: Favorites from our All-Star Chefs cookbook (it was a gift at one of my bridal showers).

What You Need: 
  • 2 medium to large eggplants
  • Salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons basil, chiffonade (fancy name for cut into ribbons)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Black pepper
What You Do:
  1. Peel each eggplant, leaving 1 inch of skin unpeeled at the top and bottom.  Slice the eggplant thinly lengthwise, about 1/4 inch thick.  Evenly sprinkle each slice with salt and lay out for 30 minutes on a sheet pan fitted with a wire rack (or just place in a colander to drain in the sink for about 15 minutes like I did).  Rinse with cold water and roll in paper towels (I skipped this step and it was fine).  Slice the pieces into thin fettuccine-like strips.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes, and cook until garlic is lightly golden and aromatic.  Add the eggplant "pasta" and toss to coat (it will seem like a lot, but it cooks down, so use all the eggplant).  Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes.  Add the cream and increase heat to thicken sauce. 
  3. Finally, add the basil and Parmesan and toss to combine.  Season with black pepper to taste, but no salt, as the eggplant will already be salty (I added more salt, because it tasted like it needed it to me).


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