Sicilian Eggplant Pasta

12 Jun

Sicilian Eggplant Pasta:  This rustic Southern Italian specialty pairs the crunchiness of fried eggplant with fresh mozzarella that melts in the hot pasta.

Sicilian Eggplant Pasta:  Eggplant Parmesan, is there nothing better?  And if you love to eat that dish, then you’re going to love this Sicilian Eggplant Pasta!  The Hungry Wife version of a rustic Southern Italian specialty pairs the crunchiness of fried eggplant with smooth fresh mozzarella that melts into the hot pasta.  The eggplant’s crisp egg coating prevents it from absorbing excess oil when frying.

Cooked eggplant soaks up a lot of oil. As the air rushes out of the cells oil rushes in to take it place. Many cooks insist on salting and pressing (or just draining) the air and water out before cooking. Getting rid of the air means it will absorb less oil during cooking. Salting also reduces the water content which reduces the amount of water leeched out into the dish. If you salt prior to cooking, rinse and pat dry to prevent excessive salt in the end product. Adjust the seasoning in the recipe to compensate for the salt remaining on the eggplant.

Then there is the issue of whether or not to peel the eggplant. Peeling should depend on how the eggplant is used in the recipe. If you never peel, selection becomes extremely important. Young tender eggplant is a must as older tough skin takes longer to cook and by then the flesh is overcooked.

Eggplant can be baked, grilled, steamed, or sauteed. It is versatile and works well with tomatoes, onions, garlic and cheese. The only way eggplant is unacceptable is raw.  Eggplants have a small amount of nutrients. They are naturally low in calories and unpeeled, they provide some fiber. There is also some folate and potassium.

Served with a tossed green salad and vinaigrette, this pasta will quickly become one of your favorite meals.

Moosewood Restaurant New Classics, Copyright 2001, Moosewood, Inc., Clarkson Potter, Publishers

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