Rustic Eggplant

Rustic Eggplant

This dish is something I came up with last weekend while I was playing “clean out the fridge.”  It’s hearty, delicious, and may take the cake as the perfect rainy day comfort food.  Note: for those of you who aren’t huge fans of eggplant, give this dish a try!  The eggplant is subtle and the tomato and cheese are the real stars.

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan, divided
  • Dash of sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2-4 tbsp kalamata olive oil (enough to generously coat bottom of large sauté pan)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 6 oz grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb pasta

Recipe:        Cooking Time (about 40 minutes)

  1. Peel skin off eggplant (you can do this using a knife or a vegetable peeler) and cut into 1 inch by 1 inch cubes.  In a medium-size bowl mix flour, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, sea salt and fresh grated pepper.  Dredge eggplant in flour mixture, shaking off excess.  Place dredged eggplant in a separate medium size bowl.
  2. Heat water in large pasta pot over high heat.  Once water comes to a boil, salt and add 1/2 pound of pasta (I usually use ziti rigate, rigatoni, or the curly q ones I used in this photo).  Lower heat to medium-high, cook pasta 7-10 minutes until al dente.  Drain, add 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil (so that it does not stick together) and set aside in a covered bowl.
  3. While your pasta water is heating up… heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add eggplant – making sure not to overcrowd.  Turn the eggplant every few minutes so that it cooks evenly.  Add additional tablespoon of oil if the pan looks dry.  Cook eggplant until it turns light golden brown (about 10-15 minutes total).
  4. At this point, there should only be a small amount of oil left in the pan (enough to sauté your garlic, onion, and grape tomatoes).  Turn heat to medium-low.  Add garlic, onion, grape tomatoes, and red pepper flakes to the pan.  Stir occasionally.  Cook 5-10 minutes until onions are golden brown and grape tomatoes are soft.
  5. Turn heat to low.  Add tomato sauce and cannellini beans to pan, stirring to mix all of the ingredients together.  Add pepper to taste.  Cook 5 minutes.
  6. Pour cooked pasta into sauté pan and combine.
  7. Pour pasta and eggplant mixture onto a serving platter.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese and fresh chives over the top and serve.

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