Actually, there's a lot more going on than just eggplant in this pasta, but I couldn't figure out what to call this thing. I found the recipe in Vegetable Love by Barbara Kafka, who calls this dish, somewhat awkwardly, "pasta with hidden-depth eggplant." But that still discounts the role of garlic, capers, anchovies, red wine, and red wine vinegar in the process. It's close to a pasta alla puttanesca, but much less brash. It's far more comforting, and a nearly perfect cold weather pasta.
The only time-consuming part is roasting the eggplant. Kafka said it would take nearly an hour and a half. I solved that dilemma by slightly increasing the heat and using a medium-sized eggplant instead of those honking purple footballs. It worked. Mine was done in 45 minutes, and tasted incredible. And no, I did not forget to write in salt. Though I'm a firm believer that salt makes everything taste better, the capers and anchovies get the job done well enough.
About the author: Nick Kindelsperger is a freelance writer in Chicago. He is the co-founder of The Paupered Chef and spends most of his time playing with the new cooking gadgets he got from his wedding.
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium eggplant
- 1/4 cup capers
- 2 tablespoons anchovies, chopped
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/2 pound bucatini
- Black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the eggplant in and let it cook for about 45 minutes, or until very, very tender. Remove, slice in half, and then scoop out the innards and shred with a couple forks.
Place a large skillet over medium-low heat. Pour in the oil, and when warm, add the garlic. Cook for a few minutes until soft, but not browned.
Turn the heat to medium, and add the eggplant, anchovies, and capers to the skillet. Stir until warmed. Then pour in the red wine and red wine vinegar. Cook until the liquid has thickened into a sauce.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the bucatini according to the directions on the box. Drain, and then add it to the skillet with the sauce. Stir until coated, and then serve. Season with black pepper to taste.