Thursday, October 9, 2008

Eggplant and Pasta

I had one too many eggplants in my refrigerator last week and after making melitzanosalata (eggplant spread) with the more traditional small purple eggplants my neighbor gave me straight from his yard, I decided to use the two white eggplants I'd bought from a farm stand to make this pasta dish. I used it here layered between pasta and tomato sauce. It was easy, quick (would have been quicker had I had a batch of the tomato sauce on hand) and made for great leftovers.

The white eggplant was a pleasant surprise: a much less bitter type of eggplant than its dark purple cousin. I have to admit though that my favorite are the Sicilian eggplants I sometimes find which have an amazingly sweet flavor. You can use any eggplant here, of course, and alter the herbs and type of pasta to your liking.

I'm submitting this dish to this week's Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast.
Kali Orexi!

Baked Eggplant and Pasta
Serves 6

2 white eggplants, about 1 pound each
1 pound penne
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
3/4 cup grated pecorino romano
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive Oil

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Slice eggplant into 1/2-inch rounds and place on an oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle with additional olive oil, salt and pepper and bake until tender and golden.

Cook the penne in the boiling water until almost done; about 5 minutes. Drain and toss with 3/4 cup of tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
Grease a baking dish with olive oil. Add about 1/3 cup tomato sauce to the dish and top with half the bread crumbs. Layer half the penne and then top with half of the eggplant slices. Add about 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce over the eggplant and sprinkle with half the grated cheese and chopped parsley. Repeat with the remaining tomato sauce, bread crumbs, pasta, eggplant, cheese, and parsley, topping with an additional drizzle of olive oil.

Bake until golden.

Tomato Sauce

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch of dried thyme
Pinch of dried basil
1 carrot, shredded
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes
Pinch of sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the onion and garlic, cooking until soft. Add the herbs and carrot and cook until the carrot is soft. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil, stirring often; add sugar. Lower the heat and simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. (I used half of this recipe for the above pasta dish and stored the remaining sauce in the freezer for future use.)


Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Maria you have a very nice blog. I really like your recipe for Eggplant and Pasta.

Peter G said...

I've never cooked with white eggplants before. This looks like a real comforting and tasty dish Maria.

Ivy said...

I thought that only Santorini had white eggplants. Your dish looks delicious.

Ruth Daniels said...

What a glorious dish! Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Maria, thank you for visiting my blog. As I said before, I'm so glad I found your blog. Have a great weekend.

Peter M said...

This is simplicity and remarkably delicious. You "get" good food!

Jin Hooi said...

ohh.. I love eggplants !!! your pasta looks yummy

Maria said...

Teresa, thanks so much for stopping by ... I really enjoyed reading through your blog as well. I look forward to visiting it more often.
Peter, it was my first time cooking with the white eggplant. It had a nice flavor, but I really like the Sicilian eggplants much more.
Ivy, I found these white eggplants at a farmstand. I haven't seen them around the city markets ever but individual farms have more of a variety to offer.
Ruth, thanks so much for including this in your round-up!
Peter, it was simple and just right for a cool fall evening here in NY.
Jin, thanks so much for coming by ... I appreciate your kind words!

Anonymous said...

This is such a classic combination and never fails to deliver!

Bren Herrera said...

love eggplant now, hated it as a child! amazing, right! welcome to blogging!! it's a great thing, as i'm sure you've seen :)

Bellini Valli said...

I have never seen a white eggplant but we are usually a little behind in the innovative department. In the meantime this would be delicious with our every day eggplants...incredible:D

Núria said...

I never cooked with white eggplants either but I love the way you prepared this dish! It must have been delicious!!! I love all ingredients on it except cheese, but a small quantity is ok with me.

Maria said...

Jodimop thanks so much for visiting -- it was a simple recipe but quite flavorful.
Bren, thanks so much for coming by and for your kind wishes. I absolutely love eggplant too.
Val, this is a simple recipe that would very well work with any eggplant, any pasta.
Nuria, glad you stopped by and thank you for your kind words. You don't like cheese?! The more cheese the better for me ... Cheese is honestly something I don't think I can live without!