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Roasted Eggplant-Tomato Sauce over Whole Wheat Pasta

Posted Apr 16 2011 12:50pm

My friends Amanda and Bipasha have been telling me time and time again to post recipes which have very few ingredients and easy preparation. They mentioned that they don’t have too much time to cook, and when they do, they are simply exhausted after putting in long hours at work. I understand their plight, and challenged myself to come up with recipes for people like them who really do have to put long hours in at work, don’t have time to cook elaborate meals, and require dinner to perform double duty as lunch the next day. All keeping in mind the healthfulness of the meal, and the overall flavor. It was kind of challenging, to be honest, especially for me, since I have a tendency to work with more than 5 ingredients and spend more time than I sometimes need to in the kitchen (I blame being Indian for that!!).
This recipe, in my opinion, fits the bill for them (And they will surely let me know if it doesn’t!!). It is easy, with few ingredients, and makes loads of food. It’s also vegetarian, and very healthy, especially with the added benefit of whole wheat pasta. Enjoy with a side salad and you’ve got a lovely meal and lunch the next day!
* Although it doesn't require one, this recipe is best with a food processor, which I don’t know if my friends have, but I urge people to invest in one. It is very helpful for making sauces, soups, salsas, dough, etc. If you don't have one- see recipe for tips.
Makes 6 servings
Ingredients1 lb eggplant, stems removed2 pints cherry tomatoes3 tbsp tomato pasteSalt and pepper to tasteOlive oil for drizzling5 cloves garlic1 tsp crushed red pepper (more or less to taste)1 cup basil, roughly chopped (finely chopped if you will not be using a food processor)1 tsp red wine vinegar1 lb whole wheat pasta such as rotini, penne- anything that can hold onto sauce well*Save about 1 cup of pasta water on the side after cooking the pasta
Preheat oven to 400°. Prick eggplant all over with a fork, and place on one side of a baking dish. Slice cherry tomatoes in half and place on other side of the baking dish. Stir tomato paste in with the cherry tomatoes. Drizzle everything with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 45 min. Place garlic and crushed red pepper in a piece of aluminum foil and place in the oven during the last 15 min of baking. Remove eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper from the oven and place in food processor. Add basil and red wine vinegar, and process until smooth. (If you don't have a food processor, simply mash up all the ingredients- except basil- together with a fork. Stir in finely chopped basil to this mash-up. Overall, your sauce will be chunkier, but that's fine!)Meanwhile, prepare your pasta according to package instructions. Make sure to save 1 cup of the pasta water on the side. Stir the eggplant-tomato sauce in with the pasta, and use the pasta water to thin the sauce out if needed. Adjust salt and pepper, and serve.
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