MELANZANE RIPIENE CON La PASTA

(Eggplant Stuffed with Pasta)

This dish seems complicated, but this is really is not the case.  Frankly this may be the best eggplant dish we have made, and we have been eating eggplant for 40-45 years.  Ffolks who do not like eggplant will enjoy it.  

Ingredients

2 Small Eggplants - round
15 Whole Tomatoes - Fresh cherry type
6 Whole Garlic cloves
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive oil
2 Tsp. Sage Leaves - fresh &chopped coarsely
2 Tsp. Basil leaves - fresh & chopped coarsely
1/2 Lb. Rigatoni or Fusilli pasta or a mixture of both
1/2 Cup Cheese - Fontina or similar cheese

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350-375° F.

This recipe calls for small round eggplant, preferably white ones, but any round eggplant will do nicely.  Slice off about one inch of the eggplant lengthwise.  Leave the top stem of the eggplant intact.  Now slice a small piece off of the opposite side of the eggplant.  This will allow the eggplant to sit on a flat surface.  Using a small paring knife, cut away the pulp of the eggplant, leaving about 1/2 inch uncut.  (The pulp can be saved for another dish, as it will not be needed here.)  Salt the eggplant interior and allow it to sit upside down on a dish for at least an hour.  At the end of this time, rinse the eggplant, and coat it with olive oil inside and out.  Put it/them on a baking sheet and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Meanwhile peel and dice the garlic.  Put all of the olive oil into a sauté pan to eventually hold all of the ingredients, then add the diced garlic  to the pan.   Cut the 15 tomatoes in half, and set aside.

At this point, begin to boil the water for the pasta at this point.

Continue to sauté garlic until it just begins to brown.  As soon as that happens add the tomatoes, the basil and the chopped sage. Add  a 1/2 glass of the pasta water to the pan, and turn off the heat once the tomatoes soften.

Cook the pasta until al dente (perhaps a bit more al dente than usual) . When done, drain and add to the pan with the garlic and tomatoes.  Sauté for 2-3 minutes, then put all the ingredients in to a mixing bowl.  Add all of the cheese and mix well.

Stuff the eggplants with the pasta mixture.  Put the eggplants into a baking dish. Add any leftover pasta mixture to the dish and sprinkle with olive oil.  Bake at 350° F. for 25-35 minutes, or until the topmost pasta in the eggplants, as well as the baking dish begin to caramelize and crisp. Once this happens, remove from the oven.  Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes, then serve.

Eat immediately.  This is too good to let cool!


Last updated on: 08/17/06 07:27:52 PM