Friday, July 31, 2009

Robust End-of-the-Summer Spaghetti

Two years ago, I would have been shocked if you told eventually I would eager anticipate eggplant. I do now, especially as learn how to cook it so it is creamy and absorbs flavors. I have also learned how prevalent eggplant is in Italian recipes, beyond the typical Eggplant Parmesan. (it also plays a major role in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine as well).

Curtis and I loved this dish. J and M didn't really dig the sauce, but M wasn't digging much of anything yesterday. It's rather similar to the caponata I make, except it's missing the sour (vinegar) aspect and it's hot. I omitted the parsley, kalamata olives, and capers because I didn't have them. It wasn't a problem, but I am sure they would greatly add to the taste. I also only had 1 lb of tomatoes so I used a can of whole tomatoes, which I drained and smashed.

Robust End-of-the-Summer Spaghetti
from Local Flavors by Deborah Madison

1 1/2 lbs eggplant, peeled and sliced a scant 1/2" thick
2 bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 c olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
3 anchovies, chopped
1/3 c parsley, chopped
2 lbs ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/4 c Kalamata (black) olives, chopped
1/4 c green olives, chopped
3 T capers, rinsed
1 T dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 - 1 lb spaghetti (depending on how much you want to make--we're a half lb family)
Parmesan cheese, grated

Brush both sides of eggplant slices with olive oil. Brush the skin side of the peppers with olive oil. Broil or grill the eggplant and bell peppers, skin side down on the grill and skin side up in the broiler, in preheated grill or broiler. Remove the eggplant slices when they are browned and tender, turning as needed. Remove the peppers when the skin is charred and blistered. Place them in a ziploc bag to steam and make the skins easy to remove. Cut the eggplant into chunks. Scrape off charred skins of peppers and dice.

Heat 1/4 c of olive oil in a heavy medium saucepan. Add the onion, grilled peppers, garlic, anchovies, and parsley. Saute over medium high heat until the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat and add the capers, olives, eggplant, tomatoes, oregano, and 1/2 c tomato juice or water. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile cook the spaghetti until al dente an a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain.

To serve, put spaghetti in a large bowl and top with sauce (if you only made 1/2 lb of the spaghetti, don't use all the sauce). Generously sprinkle grated parmesan cheese on top.

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