Eggplants can be a mystery. Will it brown nicely or stick to the pan? Will your meat relax or stay stiff and rubbery? Will it be sweet or bitter? Is it a boy or a girl? (That last one is a red herring. See the tip below for what to really look for.)
This does not mean that we should not cook eggplants. We should. Once we find some recipes that we trust, we can handle their ambiguities. But if you haven’t found yours, or just don’t want to take it all in, do as food writer and editor Francis Lam does: let go of your eggplant. To avoid the consistency of wrestling altogether, Lam takes advantage of the eggplant’s affinity for oil and its talent for turning into mush and makes a pasta sauce out of it. Get all the delicious eggplant flavor and silky texture, without the stress.
More importantly, it’s often loaded outside during peak eggplant season, and unlike recipes that call for grilling, frying, or cooking over high heat, this is all done on the stovetop, in a reasonable amount of time, over high heat. moderate. , so that you too, like the eggplant, can go free.
A few more tips: look for eggplants that are fresh, not wilted, heavy for their size, with smooth, firm skin; they are much less likely to be somber and bitter.
Feel free to take the flavors in any direction you like, from fish sauce to chili oil to capers or other pickled pieces (Francis has plenty more ideas in the video below and on The Genius Recipe Tapes podcast). And he uses other vegetables that are good carriers of other flavors, like zucchini or cauliflower, adding more liquid as needed for those that don’t release as much white.
Leftover pasta isn’t usually easy to reheat. This eggplant pasta actually makes a nice cold or room temperature pasta salad the next day (not everyone does), but it also makes a medium omelet. Putting the noodles in a pan with eggs, as Viana La Place and Evan Kleiman do at *Fresh Kitchen,* means you can take advantage of their toppings and springy texture, while protecting the pasta from further cooking. From the leftovers from the remaining rows, the tortilla, in turn, makes a great sandwich filling the next day.
Recipe of Food52 Genius Recipes: 100 recipes that will change the way you cookTen Speed Press (April 2015).
Useful tools for this recipe:– Le Creuset Dutch oven – Italian pasta pot – Five two wooden spoons