Though I feel bad admitting this, I just can't fry eggplant. It comes out oil-laden, greasy, and disgusting. Doesn't matter what I do, or how much precaution I take, it's always the same. But, I can roast eggplants. And, man, do I love the way roasted eggplants taste. Even though I was down to two recipes that had roughly the same ingredients, I picked this one almost exclusively because the eggplant was roasted.
The winner was from Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Vegetables. I did change a few things. She called for penne, which I substituted for gemelli. And she finished the dish with ricotta, which I simply didn't have. I do think the 1/4 pound of ricotta sprinkle on top would up the ante in this already fantastic dish. Maybe next time. Another added benefit: the splash of Sherry vinegar, which brightens the dish and gives it a slight tinge of sweetness. And for the record, that eggplant came out perfectly.
About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is a co-founder of The Paupered Chef, a blog dedicated to saving time and money while enjoying food in every way possible. He sells wine for a living and lives in Columbus, Ohio.
- 1 large eggplant, or two smaller Japanese eggplants
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 pound pasta
- Sherry vinegar
- 1 cup diced tomato
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the eggplant in 1/2 inch cubes. Toss them with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large bowl until they are coated. Place them on a roasting pan in a single layer and roast for 25 or until they are soft.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta according to instructions on the box. Drain.
Heat a large skillet to medium. Pour in the other 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the onion and saute until they are starting to color. Add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds, and then deglaze the pan with a splash of Sherry vinegar.
Dump the eggplant into the skillet along with the diced tomato, red pepper flakes, and basil. Bring the mixture to a simmer then add the pasta. Toss until the pasta is coated. Season with salt and sprinkle with the parsley.