Spicy Roasted Eggplant Pasta… Tastes like BUTTER!

6e453e3e-a27d-45de-8cfc-2abe1b6ca627_zps2cfdeb65      Being back in So. Cal., I get to see the change in seasons yet again! (In South Florida, the only way I could tell it was Fall was by counting how many fewer mosquito bites I had at the end of each weekend!)

      Here is Los Angeles, this transition begins subtly with the days getting a bit shorter, the allergies getting a tad worse, and the prevalence of “Pumpkin Flavor” making its way in to every food category, at every store. With all of this comes a slight chill in the evening. It’s not cold enough to crank the heater, but having the oven on makes the house just cozy enough. That’s where my “roasting everything I can get my hands on” begins.

     Eggplant, or aubergine as its often called, has become easy to find at most stores, and its often very inexpensive. Its been referred to as one of the healthiest foods in the world due to its antioxidant properties, bad cholesterol lowering abilities, and potent amounts of various nutrients. On top of all that, its chock full of Fiber… which let’s be honest, we all need.

     In culinary school I was told over and over again, that there are very few things worse that you can serve on a plate than undercooked eggplant. It’s so true! Roasting it thinly like this, with a good amount of healthy olive oil, gives it the texture and mouth feel of yummy buttery goodness!

All this flavor begins with having good quality vegetables to work with. So, here are some tips for selecting a good eggplant:

1. Make sure the skin is in tact, and doesn’t have any punctures or bruises.

2. You want it to be heavier than it looks like it should be. The more dense the better. I usually hold it up to my ear (ignore the looks of clueless shoppers around me) and tap it. If it sounds “full” its a good one. If it sounds hollow, move on the next one.

3. Try to find eggplants with bright green stems. If they are brown and shriveled, it means they are old. The inside could be spoiled and mushy. ick!

4. Give it a light press, like you would the top of a cake when you are checking for “doneness.” If the flesh springs back, its good to go. If it doesn’t, move on.

5. When you are making a meal that requires more than one, try to find eggplants that are roughly the same size and shape. That way everything cooks in the same amount of time.

Spicy Roasted Eggplant Pasta

Ingredients:

6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tbsp EV Olive Oil
1/8 tsp salt
Pinch of Red Pepper flakes
 
1.5 lbs eggplant, skin on and sliced into 1/4″ slices (it’s very thin)
3/4 tsp salt, divided c81e80ce-17ef-4ada-a217-b4f448f81585_zpsebb0876d
EV olive oil
6oz whole wheat pasta
3 peppadews, diced → → → → → → →
1 can “no-salt added” diced tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine, whatever you are drinking!
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 cup diced prosciutto (omit for Vegetarians)
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese + 2-3 tbsp to top (optional)
 

Method:

Heat oven to 425⁰

1. Combine garlic cloves, EVOO, salt, and red pepper flakes in a small piece of foil. Close up foil. Roast until soft and lightly browned. Allow to cool, then rough chop. Set aside.

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801e5ab4-3638-4c4e-bcf6-64d05248e8a4_zps44c3a9ac

2. Line a sheet pan with Parchment paper, and brush with EVOO. Lay one layer of eggplant slices, then brush tops with EVOO. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp of salt. Repeat with 2nd sheet pan and last half of eggplant slices.

Roast 15-20 minutes, flipping half way through.52c36e0b-be04-4f64-9e4b-60b4225aee5e_zps15c9035d

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3.  Cook pasta according to package directions, and drain. Set side.

4646f4a8-5d11-4044-bc4f-1bcbe4e5febd_zps2d0b29e14. In a large pan, heat 1 tsp EVOO over medium heat. Add can of tomatoes (undrained), roasted garlic, peppadews, wine, dried basil, and 1/4 tsp salt. Smash with back of a spoon or spatula. Bring to a quick boil, then reduced heat to low and simmer 10 mins.e4771a14-a590-4059-b1db-f2264a45e8d7_zps09bb283f

5. Add eggplant & pasta, cook 2 mins. Turn off heat, then add 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese and mix together.

6. Just before serving fold in prosciutto and top each serving with 1/2 tbsp Parmesan cheese (optional).

Spicy Roasted Eggplant Pasta (Recipe without Photos)

Ingredients:

6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tbsp EV Olive Oil
1/8 tsp salt
Pinch of Red Pepper flakes
 
1.5 lbs eggplant, skin on and sliced into 1/4″ slices (it’s very thin)
3/4 tsp salt, divided
EV olive oil
6oz whole wheat pasta
3 peppadews, diced
1 can “no-salt added” diced tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine, whatever you are drinking!
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 cup diced prosciutto (omit for Vegetarians)
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese + 2-3 tbsp to top (optional)
 

Method:

Heat oven to 425⁰

1. Combine garlic cloves, EVOO, salt, and red pepper flakes in a small piece of foil. Close up foil. Roast until soft and lightly browned. Allow to cool, then rough chop. Set aside.

2. Line a sheet pan with Parchment paper, and brush with EVOO. Lay one layer of eggplant slices, then brush tops with EVOO. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp of salt. Repeat with 2nd sheet pan and last half of eggplant slices.

Roast 15-20 minutes, flipping half way through.

3.  Cook pasta according to package directions, and drain. Set side.

4. In a large pan, heat 1 tsp EVOO over medium heat. Add can of tomatoes (undrained), roasted garlic, peppadews, wine, dried basil, and 1/4 tsp salt. Smash with back of a spoon or spatula. Bring to a quick boil, then reduced heat to low and simmer 10 mins.

5. Add eggplant & pasta, cook 2 mins. Turn off heat, then add 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese and mix together.

6. Just before serving fold in prosciutto and top each serving with 1/2 tbsp Parmesan cheese (optional).

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