Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Shape of Things

Getting over a head cold, the rigors of getting back into homeschooling after a 2+ week break, and lots of drizzly weather, I decided I needed some comfort food.

Recently I've been reacquainting myself with the goodness of eggplant. Awhile back, I thought I might be allergic to it, but since I've had no problems since, I think the culprit may have been another ingredient of that dish.

Today, I had 2 medium eggplants in my fridge and thought I should use them up. So I made a very tasty and easy recipe. (At least my husband and I appreciated it! The kids? Well...)

Easy Eggplant and Pasta
2 med or large eggplants, washed, chopped into cubes (leave skin on)
1 large vidalia or other sweet onion, diced
1 jar spaghetti sauce (I use a low-salt variety)
1 can (15 oz?) of stewed tomatoes (no-salt added variety)
1 cup water
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup red wine (or more to taste)
1/4- 1/2 cup olive oil
parsley (I used dried and just threw some in - I'm heavy-handed with my spices)
pinch of salt
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne, or to taste (both are good - 1/2 tsp is if you like it spicier)
1 lb pasta (small shape like penne or mini ziti - don't use spaghetti or such)

Put onion, spaghetti sauce, tomatoes, garlic, and water into large pot on stove. Bring to boil and let boil for about 5 min. Mix in eggplant, oil, red wine, parsley, salt & pepper & cayenne. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for about 35-50 minutes. Adjust seasonings if needed. When getting closer to eating, cook pasta in separate pot as usual. Drain. Combine pasta with eggplant mixture. Serve with cheese on top. (we like feta, asiago, parmesan, goat - something sharp). It's good with bread and salad or just by itself. Tastes even better the next day.

I think I may see more eggplant recipes in my near future... say, maybe this one or this one or this? Or maybe this or this or any of these... and of course there's the old stand-by, our all-time favorite that all family members like... baba ghannouj! We used to get THE best baba ghannouj (like gold) from a small Lebanese grocery store and restaurant about 45 min from where we used to live. I haven't found any good stuff around us now, but I did meet a Lebanese baker who told us how he makes it at home. He gave me some tips which I'll share another time.

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