Saturday, April 18, 2015

Eggplant Pasta with Pine Nut Parmesan

My secret to perfectly tender eggplant in pasta sauce is to pre-roast the slices in the oven. While you are sauteing onions and garlic, and bringing together your tomato sauce, cut you eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds and put on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees F. for 30+ minutes until they loose their rubbery/sponge texture. Drop into your pasta sauce 10 minutes before finishing to turn the slices into silky discs. The sauce itself was homemade with my Nonna's homegrown tomatoes. To make the pine nut parmesan, pulse a big handful of pine nuts, a 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast, a teaspoon of salt, pepper, and a clove of garlic in a food processor. Turn out the crumbs into a skillet and toast for a few minutes, shaking and tossing constantly to avoid burning.
(Nuts are prone to over-cooking the minute you walk away from the stove). Boil your favourite pasta to al dente - lately I've been using brown rice pasta - and add to your sauce pot for the last minute of its cooking. This will impart some of the sauce's colour and flavour into the noodles, as well as prevent them from sticking together. Toss in some fresh chopped parsley and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Pile high into a dinner bowl and make sure each person gets a few slices of eggplant. Sprinkle over your toasted crumbly topping and garnish with more fresh parsley. Delicious! This is a good example of taking an ordinary vegetable and giving it the royal treatment. Its final taste and texture is totally luxurious.


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