Another Meatless Meal

Another recipe from Domenica Marchetti that we love so much.

Eggplant and mint are a classic Sicilian combination. Fresh mint is plentiful in summer, which is the best time to make this brightly flavored dish. Cavatappi, also known as corkscrew pasta, are great vehicles for capturing the creamy sauce.

Well, I have no Cavatappi and this is one of the coldest summer in a long time, except that there’s no rain so far. But this pasta is so full of flavors that we will be making often.

CAVATAPPI ALLA SICILIANA
(based on The Glorious Pasta of Italy by Domenica Marchetti)
serve 2

1.5 tbsp EVOO
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 medium sized eggplant, cut into 1cm cubes
2 medium sized tomatoes, grated ~ see note below
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Cavatappi or other short sturdy pasta (I used some bow tie & fusili)
Parmigiano regiano, grated
1-2 drops of tabasco (optional)

  • Cook the pasta as per instruction. When it has boiled, drain and set aside about 1 cup of pasta water.
  • While the pasta water is heating, put the EVOO, onion and garlic in a large frying pan. Over medium heat, cook until onion turns translucent.
  • Stir in the egg plant and cook until it begins to soften. Pour in the tomatoes, season with salt & pepper and bring the sauce to a boil, until the sauce has turn thick into a creamy tomatoes sauce.
  • Sprinkle with half of the mint and balsamic vinegar, stir and simmer for few more minutes.
  • Add tabasco here, if you want it to be a tad spicy.
  • Add the cook pasta, gently toss. Add a splash of pasta water to loosen the sauce if necessary.
  • Transfer to individual plates, sprinkle  with remaining mints and grated parmigiano. Serve immediately.

Note: grating tomatoes has become the easiest way to get the tomatoes pulp. Frankly, this is a novelty for me, but it’s so easy and fuss free. Much preferred to blanching tomatoes. Basically, cut the tomatoes in half length wise, scoop out the seeds if you prefer. Place a box grater over a curved plate to catch the juice as you grate.

Place the “inside” part against the largest hole of your box grater. Press the tomato gently and grate, until only the skin is left in your palm. Quick and mess-free, I promise!

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