• 1 eggplant
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 dried chili (optional)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peels and sliced
  • a handful of fresh basil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 small splash of white wine vinegar
  • 1 28oz can of whole tomatoes
  • mozzarella cheese
  • 1lb of pasta

way back in the day, when jamie oliver was the naked chef, i used to watch his show religiously. one of my favorite summer pasta dishes i make is his, and my turkey pot pie is inspired by one of his cooking shows i saw ages ago.

yesterday i was in a book store and happened to come across jamie’s italy. i sat down on the floor and started flipping through it, before i realized it i was folding pages back, so of course i bought it. sometimes i tend to zone out while reading recipes :-)

i marked a lot of recipes and eventually hope to cook through this book. this recipe however caught my eye because i had an eggplant sitting out that was on the verge of going bad. it was a great choice. i used a chili pepper (which you can leave out) that added just the right amount of heat. one tip though, turn on your exhaust because cooking raw un-coated eggplant in oil tends to not only get messy, but smokes. i didn’t set off any smoke detectors but my poor stella hid under the table.

spaghetti with eggplant     adapted from jamie’s italy, pasta alla norma

to prepare the eggplant: per jamie’s instructions, cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, cut again lengthwise so you now have 4 pieces, then again so you have 8. chop each slice in half so now you have 16 pieces the size of your finger. if your eggplant is seedy, cut out the seeds (seeds in eggplant tend to be bitter).

  1. in a skillet add olive oil, about 2 tbl, heat up and in batches brown the eggplant. do this carefully, eggplant has a lot of water in it, it will start to pop and oil will splash. eggplant also sucks up a lot of oil, so quickly toss the eggplant when you put them in the skillet, then let them brown, flip to brown all sides.
  2. when done browning add all the eggplant back in the skillet, lower the flame to a medium simmer,  and then add the garlic and chili pepper (optional). toss and give it a minute. add vinegar, give it a second then tomatoes, sugar and basil, toss and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  3. cook your pasta and add it directly to the skillet and toss. plate and sprinkle cheese over. i, like jamie, like to use my hands when i am cooking, so break up the mozzarella with your hands and toss it over the pasta with some fresh basil.

in my opinion the addition of the chili pepper is great. he suggests it in the recipe and he is spot on. with out the pepper it would be good, don’t get me wrong, but it definitely adds that something that this dish needs. try adding half at first or even a quarter if you are worried about the heat. you can always add more.



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