December 17, 2008

PW's Pasta and Eggplant: A Variation

With all the heavy cookie eating that has been going on around here, I decided to make a light, vegetarian dish tonight. I saw this recipe on the Pioneer Woman website awhile back, but I had not see any decent quality eggplant at the store since she posted this dish back in November. Every time I would go and look for eggplant I would find small, squishy, scarred, sorry looking eggplant. Ick. So I waited it out and I finally found some good-looking specimens. Hooray for me! I also have a few small portobellos saved from the other night, so I will incorporate those in this dish, as well. Since I do not have any basil and I am putting mushrooms in this dish, I am calling it a variation of PW's original recipe. Also, I am not certain what shape pasta I have on hand for this meal. Hopefully, it will still come together. I will let you know how it turns out!

PW's Pasta and Eggplant: A Variation

Olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 medium eggplants (the original recipe has 3 eggplant)
4 sliced, small Portobello mushrooms (optional, not in the original recipe)
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
Fresh basil
1 1-lb package fusilli
salt & pepper
Parmesan Cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions.
Slice eggplant into round slices. Sprinkle one side with salt and allow to stand or 15-20 minutes. Turn over and repeat for another 15-20 minutes. Rinse eggplant and pat dry.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil and cook onion and garlic until starting to turn color, about 5 minutes.
Add eggplant and mushrooms, stirring gently. Cook for 8 minutes, or until somewhat tender and starting to brown.
Dump in canned tomatoes and reduce heat to simmer. Add salt and pepper and simmer until eggplant is tender. Toss in cooked pasta and chopped basil. Stir in 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
Garnish with shaved Parmesan.

Jen's Notes:
(Actually this is a PW cool tip): If the sauce seems overly thick, just grab some of the boiling pasta water with a ladle and add it in until it gets to the consistency you want.

The Result:
This was very yummy. I really liked this dish. We made whole wheat rotini (fusilli) pasta and the husband went to the store and got me some fresh basil. I am glad I did not skip the basil, since it really does add an extra dimension of flavor to this dish. Also, the mushrooms were a great addition. They were the perfect texture to compliment the eggplant. Yum. Overall, this is a total keeper! It was easy and fantastically delicious. I will definitely keep this in my vegetarian repertoire.

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