What to do with eggplant? – A Revisit

Rotelle with Mixed Summer-Vegetable Sauce w/ kalamata olives and pumpernickel bread

Oddly, my ‘what to do with eggplant’ post gets a couple of hits daily, this confuses me. I figure it is because it is eggplant season, but honestly (in my opinion), that post doesn’t give much insight as to what to do with eggplant. It was an early post, I was still figuring out how I wanted this blog to feel, finding my voice, and trying to figure out my audience. I was also learning how to blog, not just the journaling aspect but how to work with wordpress’s user interface and learning some html along the way.

So, I received an eggplant in my weekly delivery of organic local produce, and I thought, this is a great opportunity to revisit the dish I made in the previous post… So here we go…

Rotelle with Mixed Summer-Vegetable Sauce
The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein (pg.119)…

I’m glad to say that the dish still receives an ‘awesome’ score. I did not make any changes significant enough for me to feel like I can call the recipe ‘adapted’, which is unusual for me. I’ve been grappling with whether or not to post the recipe… I have not gotten a definitive answer from anyone on the proper etiquette for recipe posting. So I’ll compromise… rather than have you Google the recipe and go somewhere else displeased… I’ll post the recipe but only after I mention that you should really buy this book… seriously, it’s less than $13 at amazon.

I’ve made several dishes from this cookbook with very good results…

Also, I want to talk about a few ingredients that I use, that have become invaluable in my cooking endeavors. Namely, better than bouillon vegetable base and amore tomato paste.

So, you’ve been there, right? The recipe calls for 1 Tbsp. of tomato paste, and now you have this can of tomato paste, that you have no idea of how to use up. Enter, amore tomato paste, it’s in a tube! You can use as much or as little as you need and it lasts a long time, so there is no waste. Ingenious! Or how about, the recipe calls for 1 cup of broth… most containers that I’ve seen are 14.5 oz. cans or a 16 oz. carton that have to be used up within a week. Enter, better than bouillon vegetable base, you can adjust the amount of bouillon base depending upon your own taste! I use this in things that don’t even call for broth, this is my ‘je ne sais quoi’ for dishes that need ‘something’ that I can’t put my finger on, but more than just salt. Invaluable!

Ok, on with the recipe…

Actually… I made a small mistake when I made this… sometimes that’s a good thing… I misread the ingredients, I thought it read 2 tomatoes… it actually reads 2 pounds of tomatoes… I only had 2 fresh tomatoes, so I added a can of diced tomatoes…

On with the show…

Rotelle with Mixed Summer-Vegetable Sauce - ingredients

Rotelle with Mixed Summer-Vegetable Sauce
The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein
Rating: Awesome

    2 Tbsp. olive oil
    1 onion, finely chopped
    3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
    8 oz eggplant (about 1/2 medium), cut into 1/4-inch cubes ( I used the whole eggplant )
    1 medium zucchini, chopped
    1 medium red bell pepper, chopped ( I used a green one )
    2 pounds ripe plum tomatoes — peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped, OR 1 (28-oz) can peeled plum tomatoes, drained, seeded, and coarsely chopped ( I used 2 fresh tomatoes and 1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes, and I didn’t drain it )
    1/2 tsp sugar — or to taste
    1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes — or to taste
    salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    1 cup vegetable broth ( I used better than bouillon vegetable base and 1 cup water )
    1 tsp tomato paste ( I used amore tomato paste, and yes that says teaspoon! )
    12 oz rotelle, fusilli, or other spiral-shaped pasta
  1. In a large nonstick skillet with a lid, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the eggplant, zucchini, and bell pepper. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, sugar, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes break down and begin to form a sauce, about 10 minutes. ( I don’t remember adding sugar the first time I made this, but I suspect it is used to counteract the bitterness of the eggplant, since the eggplant wasn’t salted and rinsed to remove the bitterness before being put into the pot. I added the sugar this time. )
  2. Add the 1 cup broth and tomato paste, stirring well to combine. Cover and reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are tender and a sauce has formed, about 10 minutes. (If a thinner sauce is desired, stir in additional broth as necessary.) Cover and keep warm until needed. ( I ended up adding a bit more bouillon base and tomato paste… I also added salt in stages throughout… )
  3. Rotelle with Mixed Summer-Vegetable Sauce - before pasta

  4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions until al dente; drain well. Transfer to the skillet and toss well ( I used two spoons using a tossed salad type method ). Serve at once with kalamata olives and pumpernickel bread.
  5. Rotelle with Mixed Summer-Vegetable Sauce

ADVANCE PREPARATION: The sauce can be held, covered, over very low heat for one hour before tossing with the pasta. Or it can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to two days. Reheat over low heat and serve with freshly cooked pasta.

Makes 4 to 6 main course or 8 pasta course servings.

Enjoy! 😉


5 thoughts on “What to do with eggplant? – A Revisit

  1. Pingback: What to do with eggplant? « The Auspicious Squirrel

    • The eggplant became a little bit more tender than ‘crisp-tender’… it had firmness but not mushiness or crunchiness… This was a really good meal, it made lots, like 6-8 servings, and was like a spaghetti and red sauce dish with other vegetables. We really enjoyed it. 🙂 Oh, and the eggplant did just fine being heated in the microwave as leftovers.

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