Tuesday, August 28, 2012

An Eggplant and Tomato Pasta

I bought some lovely Japanese eggplants at one of our local farmers markets, Homegrown Alabama last week and made this tasty and healthy pasta with them last night. This recipe is riff off of a pasta dish that I've seen mom make but with a few changes of my own, mainly because I couldn't remember exactly how she made it and didn't want to bother her with constant phone calls during suppertime.

3 eggplants
3 tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 box of whole wheat rotini pasta (less can be used)
parmesan cheese to be grated
salt to taste

Warm the oil olive and chopped garlic in a pan over low heat.

Chop the eggplant into roughly bite-sized chunks. The eggplant will draw up some as it cooks, too, so no worries about too terribly precise chopping skills. We're going for a rustic look anyway, right?

Add the eggplant to the olive oil and garlic, and saute for 15 minutes over medium heat. I salted the eggplant at this stage and again at the end after adding the tomatoes.

Chop the tomatoes into slightly smaller chunks. This size will keep the tomato skins from being too large and overwhelming in one bite. I am just not into the peeling tomatoes, but I guess you could, if you don't like the skins.

After 15 minutes of cooking the eggplant, add the tomatoes, reduce the heat to low/medium, and let the tomatoes simmer and mix with the eggplant for 10-15 minutes. In the last few minutes of cooking the eggplant and tomatoes, grate as much parmesan as desired over the dish and stir.

After adding the tomatoes, begin heating the pasta water to a rolling boil. I always add a touch of salt to the water.

Add the pasta and boil for 8-9 minutes or until you get the consistency that you prefer.

Drain the pasta and mix with eggplant and tomatoes. More parmesan can be added here if desired.

The pasta to veggie ratio was a littler higher than I would usually prefer, but this dish made for a healthy dinner that satisfied my desire to incorporate more whole grains with my love for fresh, local vegetables. The eggplant brings a hearty texture and tangy bite to the dish, while the tomatoes lend taste and help bind the dish together. Choosing the rotini rather than my regular angel hair pasta seemed to work well with the size of the the eggplant and tomatoes.

Even Steve, a fried-anything, more-calories-the-better meat-eater, enjoyed this dish, so the next time you find yourself wondering what to do with a few eggplants, try this out and let me know how it works for you.

Enjoy, y'all!

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