Saturday, August 3, 2013
The Reluctant Cook's Roasted Eggplant with Pasta
But having picked up a large box of farm-fresh CSA vegetables earlier in the day -- and with the knowledge of upcoming home-repair expenses weighing on my conscience -- I simply couldn't justify the luxury of dining out without a better reason than merely not wanting to cook.
So with a sigh of resignation and a roll of my eyes I surveyed the produce on hand, considered what would work well together, and settled on a cooking method that would maximize flavor with minimal effort: Roasting. And thus the following "recipe" was born.
Much to our delight and my relief, my reluctantly prepared roasted eggplant and vegetables turned out quite nicely with deep, rich flavors and a buttery, velvety texture. I served the roasted eggplant mixture over rotini pasta for myself -- you can use any other pasta, too -- while Greg enjoyed it without pasta as a low-carb vegetarian dish.
I created this meal on the fly without measuring or weighing anything and essentially threw it together based on our taste preferences. By all means, feel free to deviate from the ingredient list below based on what you enjoy eating and what you have on hand. You can also augment the recipe with any of the following additions stirred into the already-roasted vegetables or served on top: Capers, black onions, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil or other herbs, anchovies, Italian sausage, rotisserie chicken, grilled shrimp, grated or shredded parmigiano-reggiano cheese, crumbled feta cheese, crushed red pepper flakes.
1 eggplant (approx. 1 lb, I leave unpeeled but you can peel), cubed
1 large onion (preferably a sweet variety), thinly sliced
Several cloves garlic (I used a small handful), coarsely chopped
Bell, sweet or hot peppers, seeded & sliced: I used 2 green mini sweet peppers
3 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
Herbs to taste (fresh or dried): I used dried thyme, basil, oregano & rosemary
Red wine (approx 1/4 to 1/2 cup??)
Preheat oven to 450°F. Pour enough olive oil into a large (e.g., 9" x 13" x 2") baking pan to cover the bottom well. Spread the onion & garlic in an even layer on the bottom of the dish, then add the pepper slices and the chopped tomatoes. Lightly season with salt, pepper & herbs, then lightly drizzle with a little olive oil. Spread the cubed eggplant over this, season to taste with salt, pepper & herbs (yes, you're doing it again) then drizzle lightly with olive oil OR spray with olive oil cooking spray. Place pan on middle rack in oven and roast at 450°F for 30 to 40 minutes, at which time you should remove from oven to stir and deglaze with a splash or two of red wine. Return to oven and continue cooking for another 20 to 30 minutes, then remove to stir & deglaze with a little more wine. Return to oven and cook until the tomatoes have broken down, the vegetables are very tender and everything is caramelized to taste (for me this took another 20 minutes or so). Remove from oven, stir and deglaze with a final splash of wine, then serve "as is" or over cooked pasta such as rotini. Makes approx. 4-6 servings. Any leftovers will continue to develop in flavor overnight in the refrigerator and will taste fantastic either reheated or cold.
Carolina Sauce Company