I was never a huge fan of eggplant, (perhaps it is because my niece told me once my head looked like one). However, I won’t push eggplant away, well, let’s face it there are only a few things I won’t eat, for example rocks and glass.
Eggplant cooked and seasoned correctly can be dynamite stuff, it absorbs flavors and is nicely versatile.
Yesterday as I wandered around markets and farm stands I came across some eggplants and remembered this pasta dish I had in San Francisco when I was quite young. It was my first year out of college and I became a flight attendant because I wanted to travel. I quit after a short while because no desire to travel was worth that awful torture. I was a horrible flight attendant and I know this because passengers told me so. Enough of going down memory lane. So today, I made the eggplant dish to the best of my memory. The things that stood out most for me was the dollop of ricotta cheese and pine nut garnish. This recipe is reminiscent of the popular caponata (without the olives).
Here is how I thought it was made, (it came out quite good!)
One large eggplant diced
One red pepper diced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bunch scallions sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons capers
2 anchovies (optional, but use it anyway, they are not that bad!)
Fresh basil chopped *Added at the very end. Pay attention!
I small 8 0z. Can of tomato sauce
Salt & Pepper
I pound Capellini (angel hair) pasta
In a large sauté pan heat the olive oil and add the vegetables, hot pepper flakes, and cook until all soft, add garlic, capers and anchovies. Add the sugar and one small can of tomato sauce just to flavor (this should not be swimming in tomatoes sauce, it should have a dark pinkish color to it see photo) let it simmer.
Cook the pasta, when done place it in the sauté pan and coat the pasta with the sauce and vegetables, add the basil and twirl high on a plate adding addition vegetables on top if need be. Place a dollop of ricotta and sprinkle with Pine nuts.