Garden, Plant, Cook!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Recipe! Eggplant, Pasta Sauce and Pumpkin, oh my.

Dear Folks,

My huge white eggplant is giving me a lot of fruit and I was in the mood for something pasta-ish yesterday.  I've also been in the mood for more pumpkin dishes.  (The picture was taken at my table at the Mesa Farmers Market where I took my extra to sell.)

So, I made a pumpkin tomato pasta sauce for sauteed eggplant and angel hair pasta (threw in some diced cooked chicken for a little extra protein).

Pumpkin / Tomato Sauce
Serves 2-4

1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce (I did not have any of my homemade ready so I got Muir Glenn's organic tomato basil sauce)
1/2 cup of pumpkin puree (make sure you get only the puree and not the pumpkin pie can - or you can cook up your own pumpkin puree*)
6 fresh basil leaves, slivered
2 small eggplant or one large one (the white and smaller varieties are a little less seedy and do not require the salt soak to remove bitterness)
2-4 ounces of angel hair pasta (or any small pasta like shells would work nicely)**
2-3 tablespoons of onion or shallot minced
1-2 tablespoons of fat of choice (butter, olive oil, bit of uncured bacon fat, other oil)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
Pepper to taste
Salt - maybe, taste first
Optional:  Cooked and diced meat, chicken, pork, beef or could use diced drained firm tofu.

Mix pumpkin and tomato sauce and set aside.
Dice eggplant
Mince onion or shallot.

Start water for pasta, add salt.

Heat oil in frying pan and add onion  Stir and cook on low-medium for about 1 minute (the onion should sizzle a little but you don't want it to burn).  Add eggplant, stir and cover on medium, stirring frequently, until the eggplant begins to turn opaque (about 5-7 minutes).  Sprinkle with black pepper.  Add sauces, stir to mix well, cover and continue cooking until the sauce is nice and bubbly, add meat or tofu.

When you add the sauce to the eggplant, add the pasta to the boiling salted water.  Cook until 1-2 minutes under directions, i.e., you want the pasta not quite completely cooked.

When the pasta is ready, drain, and add to sauce.  Add basil and cheese, stir to combine and serve.

The pumpkin marries nicely with the tomato without adding a 'pumpkin' flavor which is what I was looking for.

Left-over tip:  Next morning or for lunch the next day, heat some of the pasta and sauce in a frying pan, add water if needed to loosen it up.  Make a center opening in the mix.  Add 2 beaten eggs, and begin incorporating the leftover pasta into the eggs until eggs are completely cooked.  Serve with toast.  Or heat the sauce in the frying pan to bubbling.  Crack 2-4 eggs into the mix, cover and poach eggs to desired done stage, serve over toast.

*Making your own pumpkin puree is easy - a bit of time required but easy.  Cut a pumpkin up into sections.  Remove all the seeds and membrane but don't skin (save the seeds to rinse and make toasted pumpkin seeds later).  Bake the pumpkin sections without anything (no oil) on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees until you can insert a knife easily in it.  Remove and cool completely.  Pare the skin off and chunk up the pumpkin.  Use a food processor to puree the pumpkin add a little water if needed to keep the blades going.  Refrigerate for use or freeze in batches.

** I favor Barilla Plus for its high protein and fiber count even though it is not organic.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

No comments: