Inspiration Comes From the Best Places – Melanzane with Pasta – Episode 69
An Italian friend of ours has mentioned this amazing meal that his mom makes with eggplant. He has yet to make it for us. Even though I’ve never tried it, I’ve had Bruschetta that he made and it was amazing. I have high hopes for this dish too.
My dish was inspired by both of these. And by my love for garlic. There is a great amount of garlic. I’m sorry (no, I’m actually not). You may need a mint after… or even better – some mint chocolate chip ice cream?!
Now I’m just making myself hungry. Which is really unfair, because I’ve been a bit distracted this afternoon and have quite a bit of work to do before dinnertime…
This is a dish that’s born of a desire to use just a few ingredients, resulting in a meal that’s both simple and complex. It marries garlic, eggplant, onion, thyme, and basil with a splash of olive oil and some heat from red pepper flakes. It’s a delicious union.
- 1 eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise 1/4″ thick
- salt (for eggplant)
- 2 T olive oil, divided
- 1 medium (1 C) onion, diced or chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, diced (you can use less if you’d like)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- pinch thyme
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/2 C vegetable stock or pasta water
- 1-2 C cooked pasta (use your favorite kind of fettuccine noodles, broken into 2″ pieces)
- basil, fresh, chopped, for topping
- lemon slices, for topping
- Arrange eggplant on a baking sheet and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let stand for 15-30 minutes (drawing out the moisture, rendering them less bitter). Rinse and pat dry. Chop or dice.
- Heat skillet. Add 1 T oil. When oil is hot, add onion, eggplant, and seasonings. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring often, over medium heat.
- Add garlic and remaining oil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
- Add pasta and vegetable stock (or pasta water). Stir. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. (If using leftover pasta, cook for a few minutes more, or until pasta is heated through.)
- Serve topped with basil and a squeeze of lemon.