I’ve been turning to the pasta section of the Book recently in an attempt to find fairly cheap and easy recipes. This one had the advantage that I only needed eggplant in addition to ingredients I already had on hand to make it.
In fact, when I had peeled and chopped one eggplant, I thought that was quite a lot of eggplant and used my handy kitchen scale to weigh it. The recipe calls for two eggplants or 1 lb, but my one eggplant weighed almost exactly one pound. So now I have an extra eggplant and I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it. I finished my prep by mincing garlic and shredding some Pecorino Romano cheese. The recipe called for 1 oz, but I shredded at least twice that because more cheese is pretty much always better, right? I had the Pecorino Romano on hand from last week’s Spaghetti Carbonara, so was grateful to get a chance to use it again. (Grate-ful. Punny.) I’m quite a fan of Pecorino Romano. It’s like Parmesan, but more awesome. (And more expensive, unfortunately.)
Anyway, the dish is pretty simple. Cook pasta (it called for Rigatoni, but I used twists). Saute eggplant over high heat until browned on all sides. During this step, I discovered the tendancy of eggplant cubes to all land on the already brown side when stirred. I’m not Alton Brown, so I don’t have the patience to turn each cube individually. Therefore some pieces were more well-browned than others. Added to the eggplant is garlic, red pepper flakes, and then two cans of diced tomatoes. I didn’t realize that one of my cans was tomatoes with garlic, basil, and oregano until I had already opened it, so I used it anyway. It didn’t hurt the flavor and may have helped quite a bit. Because of this, I didn’t add the fresh basil that the recipe called for, fearing the basil might have been too strong. It probably wouldn’t have hurt, though.
When the pasta is cooked you toss it with the chunky sauce and the cheese. The result was a pretty simple, but tasty vegetarian dish. I thought it lacked something in flavor. I might have increased the garlic, but Justin said no to that. It definitely needed more salt, which is my fault for failing the “to taste” test.