Thursday, May 14, 2009

my lunch

Whenever I can find good Japanese eggplant, I always buy enough for 2 great dishes. One, I just either slice them and pan fry them or roast them in the oven and then top them with freshly grated ginger root and soy sauce. Super good side dish for any Japanese meal. And the second dish is this perfect pasta. Now, for those of you who don't know the glory of the eggplant (particularly the Japanese eggplant), you need to try this. Go to your local Asian market and they'll probably have some. But if you can't find Japanese eggplant, the good ol' fat American ones will do just fine. Just peel them first or you won't be so happy. And just remember that the Japanese eggplant isn't slimey at all. It's glorious!

Eggplant and pork pasta
serves 5~6
1 lb pasta (I used multi-grain penne here, but I usually make it with spaghetti. Both are great)
1/2 lb ground pork (I like the flavor of the pork, but by all means use other ground meats. I just think pork works the best)
2~3 Japanese eggplant (or 1 American eggplant)
1 (14.5 oz) can whole tomatoes. Smash the tomatoes in a small bowl and set aside.
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 small onion, minced
2~4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt, and cook pasta to al dente (about 7 minutes if cooking spaghetti and about 9 minutes if cooking penne).
  2. In a deep skillet, pour in about 1~2 T olive oil over medium/medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the garlic and onion, and cook, stirring often, until onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Slice the eggplant and season with salt and pepper. In another large skillet, pour in about 2 T olive oil over medium-high heat. Place teh eggplant on the skillet and let cook until golden on the bottom side. Flip them over and cook until completely softened and golden on the other side. *make sure they cook completely or they'll be really spongey. When eggplant is cooked right, it's really smooth and buttery.
  4. Once the onion mixture is cooked through, add the ground pork and season generously with salt and pepper. Once the pork is cooked through, add the canned tomatoes, and season again with salt and pepper. Let the tomatoes simmer, stirring once in a while to prevent burning, until the sauce has thickened.
  5. Toss the pasta and eggplant with the sauce. Sprikle with cheese to serve.
Tomato and onion salad
serves ... 1? (hey, don't judge. I needed a really good filler ;))
1 small vidalia onion, super thinly sliced (I used my madolin slicer)
2~3 tomatoes sliced
1 T olive oil
1 t red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
fresh parsley, cilantro, basil, or any bright hebs would be great, also. But I didn't use any today.
  1. Put the sliced onion in a bowl and completey cover with water. Let stand at least 15 minutes, preferably 30. Drain and rinse under cold water. (this takes out the really strong onion-ey flavor, but leaves a really nice crunch!)
  2. Toss the onions, tomatoes, salt, pepper, vinegar, and olie oil in a bowl and enjoy!

No comments: