foodie mcfooderson

a home cook with notions & an appetite

eating well’s eggplant pomodoro pasta

I live in a house divided.   I think we all do.  For us, eggplant and peas are at the top of the divide.  He loves peas, I do not.  I love eggplant, he does not.  There are occasions where the two of us are willing to set aside our “do nots” and take a culinary bullet for the other’s enjoyment.  It was time for eggplant.

The stand we went to at the farmer’s market had eggplants for a dollar.  Beautiful eggplants for a dollar.  And our garden had finally had a few tomatoes survive the urban deer invasion.  Sure, I could have gone the classic eggplant parmesan route, but I always feel like that’s a lot heavier than it should be.  Thanks to a Christmas gift from Aunt C last year, I remember that Eating Well exists and check their website and find a recipe for Eggplant Pomodoro.  Color me intrigued.

The ingredients are easy:

  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 eggplant, (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 2 Tbs red-wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup capers, rinsed
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 12 oz angel hair pasta

I made some changes to the original recipe.  Originally, chopped green olives and capers were called for, but I just upped the amount of capers, as I had those on hand (cash-saving hint: your mega-mart sells capers for significantly less in the ethnic section with the rest of their Hispanic products).  Briney goodness is briney goodness, after all.  I also cut back on the tomatoes, as mine were rather large.  Lastly, the original recipe called for whole-wheat pasta and I had semolina angel-hair on-hand.  (I’ve learned that storing whole-wheat pasta for any length of time can lead to those pesky bugs that eat said pasta before one has a chance to cook it – no one’s fault but nature’s.)

Preparation involves a lot of chopping, but easy enough if you remember to sharpen your knife first.  Dicing eggplant is very straightforward after washing the outsides; cut into strips and slice again into 1/2-inch chunks.  The tomatoes will dice nearly the same way, only messier.  Corgies love tomato pieces, they do not love eggplant pieces.  (It’s important to know these things.)

I have a pot of water boiling on the stove for the angel hair pasta (it takes far less time to cook than spaghetti).  Getting that out of the way, 2 tablespoons of olive oil go in a pan over medium heat and the eggplant is cooked for 5 minutes.  I can’t stress how tempting it is to cut back on the oil with eggplant, but it does soak up oil fast and doesn’t like to behave in a non-stick manner.  Besides, olive oil is good for you.  I added the tomatoes and garlic at the same time because I wanted the tomatoes to be soft and cooked them for about a minute.  After that, it was the rest of the ingredients – the capers, vinegar, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper – where they could cook for five minutes more.  This was long enough for the angel hair pasta to cook and be drained for serving.

This is a briney and spicy sauce (thanks to the red pepper flakes) that tastes substantial thanks to the eggplant.  Husband didn’t even mind it so much and that speaks volumes.


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This entry was posted on October 22, 2011 by in farmer's market, garden and tagged , , , , , .

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