How to Create a Tasty and Healthy Pasta Dish Using Eggplant and Zucchini
Since my first encounter having tasted eggplant and zucchini with pasta, I've modified the dish a little but not by much. As always, my goal is to engage in simple cooking using simple ingredients and this recipe is no exception. The beauty with this dish is that it calls for red pasta sauce while many pasta and vegetable dishes call for a white sauce. I don't care for white sauces as I've yet to find a good quick recipe for one I like.
One of the keys to this dish is properly preparing the eggplant. Eggplant will give off a lot of liquid when it cooks and in this recipe we do not need all the excess liquid. In addition, removal of as many seeds as possible is also key. The eggplant seeds give a bitter taste and this is something we want to avoid.
To properly prepare eggplant for this dish follow these steps:
1. Wash and peel the eggplant. If the eggplant is organic you shouldn't have to peel it however to avoid having the eggplant too tough, (which can ruin a dish), try peeling about 2/3 of the eggplant.
2. Cut the eggplant lengthwise and remove the seeds. These seeds are bitter and will alter the taste. Discard seeds.
3. Chop the eggplant into 1 inch cubes or really whatever size you want. I like cubes because it is easier to eat.
4. Put cubed eggplant in a strainer and rest the strainer on top of a bowl allowing any liquid to go into the bowl.
5. Pour a generous amount of salt on all pieces of eggplant mixing thoroughly.
6. Within minutes the eggplant will start draining.
7. After about 20-30 minutes rinse the eggplant off well and pat dry with some paper towels. Try to get as much excess liquid off.
8. Your eggplant is now drained and "prepared" for use.
Now that the eggplant is prepared we can move onto the main dish. You will need the following ingredients: 1 chopped and prepared eggplant, 2 medium chopped zucchini's, 3 cloves crushed garlic, pasta, 3-4 cups pasta sauce, and grated romano cheese.
1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in large frying pan, one that has deep sides is best - you will need lots of room.
2. Add in chopped eggplant plus a drop of water for steam. Cover. 3. After a few minutes when liquid appears from eggplant, give it a good stir and add in zucchini. Cover. 4. When liquid comes from zucchini add in crushed garlic. Stir and Cover. 5. After about 15 minutes or so, add in the pasta sauce, stir and cover. 6. Meanwhile, heat water in a medium sauce pan to cook the pasta. 7. Continue cooking the vegetables and sauce until heated through and a fork can easily pierce the eggplant. 8. Cook the pasta of your choice. If using short pasta or angel hair, cook until just before al dente. 9. Transfer pasta into vegetable and sauce mixture and stir until coated. The pasta will continue cooking in with sauce so once it is finished cooking (preferably al-dente) remove from heat and serve. 10. Sprinkle with grated Romano cheese. 11. You can store any extra eggplant and zucchini mixture in the fridge for up to 5 days. One of the beauties with this meal is the flexibility of the dish. You can add basil, use just zucchini, omit the eggplant or vice versa. Add in some artichokes or chopped tomatoes. This is also a dish that can use either long or short pasta. You can make this recipe with long pasta, or use ziti for a change. Whichever you choose, this is a great recipe which includes a hearty dose of vegetables and is sure to impress all those at the dinner table! (c) Copyright2009 Elizabeth Krause All rights reserved.
Elizabeth Krause grew up in an Italian home, however it wasn't until later in her busy life when she began to appreciate the benefits of using simple ingredients to make simple Italian dishes. Take advantage of her easy recipes found at her online recipe box at http://www.simpleitaliancooking.com/recipebox.htm
Each week she posts a new simple Italian recipe along with helpful tips in the hopes others will benefit from her learning experiences. To receive her recipes and tips by email, subscribe today to her newsletter: http://www.simpleitaliancooking.com
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