When I saw David Rocco, host of the food show "Dolce Vita" using eggplants in a pasta sauce, I thought it to be most unusual and frankly speaking, not the least bit appetizing. Here in India, we are more used to having eggplants (commonly known as baingan) in a typical Indian style - roasted, grilled or fried and made into a vegetable with a lot of spices.
. David's method actually caught my attention and send my imagination soaring as to how would the sauce with eggplants taste with spaghetti. I could never have thought, even in my wildest dreams, of having these two together. Not wanting to wait, the very next day I set about making this dish, inspired by David's "Pasta Al Forno" (I can almost hear him pronouncing the name of the dish in his typical Italian accent ).
I thought why not give it a shot especially as I also had to submit an entry for the "Crazy Cooking Challenge". Also, as eggplants are not a great favorite with most kids (at least not mine), I was tempted by the thought that maybe it might appeal to my kids in this disguised form along with the spaghetti, which is an all time favorite of theirs - with or without the sauce.
So, I went ahead and made the sauce with a few changes here and there and surprisingly the recipe came out much better than I had expected. I also added some minced meat (leftover from the previous day) to the sauce and the end result was a great smashing-finger-licking sauce.
About my kids enjoying the pasta sauce? Well !! My son, who runs miles away from this vegetable, at first did not complain much as he did not know what he was eating, but sadly the moment he realised what was in the sauce the inevitable happened and all my dubious efforts were made to naught.
Never mind, I will still determinedly keep trying, as I think it is an ongoing battle with most of us moms.
Eggplant is probably not for everyone, but if you are one of those who enjoy eggplant, or want to try introducing them to your family and don't know how, this is a good place to start.
400 gms spaghetti
4 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 large eggplant, cut into cubes
15 olives, pitted and halved
250 gms leftover minced meat
For the tomato sauce
6 large tomatoes
4 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp dried Thyme
Boil the tomatoes in water for 6 -7 minutes till the skin starts coming off. Peel off the skin and puree.
Sprinkle some salt on the cut eggplants and keep them aside for about 30 minutes to release some of their juices.
In a saucepan, heat up olive oil and saute the aubergines until golden brown. Place the fried aubergines on a kitchen paper to drain.
In the same oil, add the onions and garlic.
Cook until onions are soft.
Stir in the pureed tomatoes, tomato ketchup, minced meat, dried thyme, olives and salt.
Simmer and cook the sauce for 15 minutes.
Add the eggplants and simmer for 5 minutes more.
While the sauce is cooking prepare the pasta according to the directions given on the package.
As soon as the sauce is ready serve it hot over spaghetti garnished with grated Parmesan cheese.This recipe is also participating in the