Pasta alle melanzane
When I studied abroad with my friends Loco & Day we all ate to our heart’s content. Baskets of delicious bread dipped in olive oil, fresh pastas, super thin pizzas, and lots of gelato as the weather got warmer. Oh, and loads of wine.
As you can imagine, we all put on a good amount of weight, but it was well worth it. I developed my palate and enjoyed eating my way through Italy.
We ate at so many restaurants in Firenze (Florence), but our favorite (albeit touristic) restaurant was Acqua al Due. We went there every time people visited as they offer assaggi of different courses, giving our guests the chance to taste many types of each course. And a lot of people visited.
Side note: Our apartment might as well have had a rotating door. We had family, friends, friends of friends, and random people from our college stay. I felt sorry for those that had to sleep on our gross couch, but that’s another horrible story. That couch is where I mastered the art of the 7 minute nap while listening to Norah Jones and random Italian artists.
Anyway, Day’s favorite dish from Acqua al Due is the rigatoni alle melanzane. For years I’ve tried to get the recipe from the owner as a birthday present for Day, but for years he has declined. I plan on bringing him a gift from Philadelphia when PB and I head to Italy in March (only 7 weeks away!!!!), but until then I tried to recreate it myself. This version isn’t quite what I was looking for, but it is a magnificent sauce in general. I had not only seconds but thirds, and I caught PB longingly staring at some of the leftovers after his big plate. It is a sauce worth making! Adesso!
Pasta alle melanzane
1 lb of your favorite, sauce catching pasta (ex: rigatoni, penne)
2 large eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 tbs olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
1.5 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes- preferably San Marzano
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
kosher salt to taste
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the cubed eggplant with 2 tbs of the olive oil to coat. Spread on a cookie sheet in one layer and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 25 minutes, shaking the sheet now and again.
2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tbs of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes.
3. Heat a large pot of water over high heat. Add a sprinkling of salt to the water.
4. When the eggplant is done add it to the sauce. Using a hand stick blender, blend some of the sauce and eggplant together. You want some eggplant chunks remaining, so do not overblend.
5. When the water comes to a boil add your chosen pasta and cook according to the directions on the box. I usually cook it for one minute less because I like my pasta al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Stir together and add the freshly grated parmigiano reggiano. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
P.S. Have you seen my latest Babycenter post?