Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pasta with Eggplant and tomato sauce

As far as saucy pasta sauces go, this has got to be one of my absolute favourites :)  It's quite similar to Pasta a la Norma, but this version has no Chilli and we use whatever cheese we have available, not specifically Ricotta Salata.  Eggplant is known as Aubergines in many places, which is the French word for them.

I felt compelled to pass on a simple recipe, inspired by a few nice simple recipes I've seen of late :)  This one is one that uses the best of Maltese produce, and in September, they are plentiful and CHEAP. 

 - 2 decent sized (but not too fat) eggplants **
 - tomatoes - I used about 12 small-medium sized romas. u could use one large tin, or 2 normal ones.
- 5 or so cloves garlic
 - Some Kunserva
 - Pepper, salt, extra virgin olive oil.
 - Pasta
 - Handful of fresh basil.

Dice the eggplants into 1 cm cubes.  Place in a large bowl, and add about a tablespoon of rocksalt.  Fill with water, and put a weight on top (I used a side plate, then the bowl with the chopped tomatoes in it on top). Leave to soak for at least 30 minutes until the water is brown - this removes much of the acidity, and soaking in water allows them to cook nicer without absorbing too much oil.

Chop the tomatoes roughly, removing all "bad bits".  This pasta is great for when tomatoes and aubergines are plentiful!! :D You can peel em, but sometimes i'm just not bothered :)

Chop the garlic finely.

Once the aubergines are done soaking, drain them well. 

Heat some oil on a medium flame in a saucepan, and add the eggplant and saut√© until they are starting to look golden.  Add a tablespoon or so of kunserva, stir around for a minute then add the tomatoes.  As soon as it starts bubbling turn it right down.  Keep stirring for a bit then leave for about 20 minutes, till the eggplant is all melty and delicious.

There is not much i abhor more than even slightly undercooked Aubergine.  It's all rubbery and gross.  Aubergines and potatoes are 2 of the few things that do well with some over, rather than under cooking :D

Boil some water, salt it and cook pasta according to directions.  Today I'm using wholewheat spaghetti.

note how rapidly the water is boiling.  this is vital in perfectly al dente (yet cooked well, and not sticky) pasta :)
Just before the pasta is done, tear the basil into the sauce and stir around.  Add the olives at this point as well (i like to leave em whole so people who don't want em can pick em out and give them to meeeeee.  olives are miiinneeee!!)

Serve the pasta with a whole lotta sauce on top, with plenty of freshly ground pepper and grated cheese.  Feel free to use shredded ricotta salata (which is a hard salty cheese), however today, I have grana padano, so grana padano it is :D  Also recommended:  if you have good olive oil (this does not mean the stuff u get from supermarkets), sprinkle a little on top :)


**I specifically said "not too fat" when it came to the eggplants, as i believe that the fatter they are, the more seeds they have in them, or rather, the more bitter seeds they have.  the ones that are a little narrower and longer seem to be more tender, as are the smaller ones.  Don't worry if they are big ones, though, just leave them soaking in the salty water for longer.  and you'll see the brown seeping out of them which is a great indication of how much bitterness is being removed.

**NOTE** my low carb tag obviously only refers to the sauce, not the pasta.  

1 comment:

  1. it was delicious La... =))))) and I dont usually like aubergine hehe so that;s like really good hehe