If you are in the mood for a good fresh vegetarian pasta with a kick then this pasta should be in your short list of candidates.
It’s not the fastest dish to make. it does take a bit of preparation and good cooking time. I would give it about an hour for a good sauce. More if you have time.
For the ingredients (feeds 2-3 people):
One big eggplant
3-4 fresh tomatoes
the italian sauce “trinita”: onion (12), a stick of celery and half of a good size carrot
half glass of red wine
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1 pound of pasta (I like penne, but you could use also a long pasta like linguine or spaghetti)
12 onion, 12 carrot and one stick of celery
salt, pepper, oregano, basil, a bit of fresh chilli pepper (you could use the dry ones as well)
Below the steps to put it together. I usually overlap a few steps to make things quicker. You should do how it would work best for you.
Step 1: Prepare the eggplant. If you don’t “dry” the eggplant you will see that they will not cook properly. I honestly don’t know the chemistry behind this (I should look it up), but empirically speaking it is better to dry them. There are different ways to do it. You can cover the eggplant with rock salt for a few hours. You will see that the salt absorbs the water out of the eggplant. This is probably the best approach, but it is too time consuming so I use a different one. I simply put them on a hot non-stick pan and keep them there for a few mins (about 2 mins each side).
Step 2: Get the sauce going. This is classic approach, that I have discussed a few times in my previous postings. Start the “soffritto” with the olive oil, chopped onion, slices carrots and celery. In the meantime slice the eggplant that you prepared above. When the soffritto is ready (the onion turns translucent) add the the eggplant to the mix. Stir it well. After couple of minutes add a little a little wine. I use red wine. I have used some balsamic vinegar in the past. If you use wine you just need 12 a glass. Couple of pix:
Step 3: Finishing the sauce. Once the eggplant look good add some of the freshed chopped tomato (it gives it a touch of freshness) and let it cook for two minutes. At this point add the crushed tomatotoes and the spices. Let is simmer it for about 30mins .You could leave it simmering more, up to 45-60mins. Just make sure that it does not get too dry…you could add some water (use the pasta water) to balance it. The sauce is done!
Step 4: Pasta and sauce come together. As the sauce is in the last minutes of cooking you can start boiling the pasta. Once the pasta is done you can just drain it and mix it with the sauce. Cook it together for about a minute and your dish it ready to go!!!
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