SPICY EGGPLANT PASTA
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Author: Jim Kirkley
Easy and inexpensive, this makes a great Italian meal. The eggplant substitutes for meat to make vegetarians happy.
- 4 servings, pasta – cooked al dente (pasta water reserved)
- 1 medium, eggplant – peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
- 5 cloves, garlic – peeled and chopped
- 1 large, onion – sliced fine
- 2 tablespoons, tomato paste
- 1/2 cup, white wine
- 1 28 oz. can, tomatoes – crushed or chopped
- 1 tablespoon, red pepper flakes
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup, il Fustino EVOO (preferably Tuscan Blend) – divided
- parmesan cheese – grated
- parsley – chopped
Bring pasta water to a boil adding enough salt to make the water taste like sea water.
Place cubed eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with about a teaspoon of kosher salt. Allow eggplant to sit for at least 15 minutes. This draws out water and enables the eggplant to brown more easily. No additional salt needs to be added to the dish as a result.
Over medium-high heat, in a large non-stick pan, add half of the oil. Add eggplant and cook until golden browned, about 10 minutes. Remove eggplant.
Add remaining oil and cook onion and red pepper flakes until onion is lightly browned. Grind in some black pepper. Add garlic and cook for 1 or 2 minutes.
Add tomato paste and heat through.
Add white wine and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Stirring occasionally.
Add pasta to boiling salted water. Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve some of the pasta water.
Combine the eggplant, cooked pasta and sauce and toss together over low heat. If needed, add a bit of the pasta water to thin the sauce.
Serve immediately. Top with grated parmesan cheese and garnish with parsley.