Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tomato Aubergine Pasta: The Encapsulation of Flavor

This is your master, Captain Sensational, speaking.  

You are being reprimanded on the Internet because people need to know that your friends in other bodies can also turn on their masters. I know I take you all for granted sometimes. I appreciate whatever it is that I'm tasting, touching, smelling, hearing or seeing but I never actually bother giving notice to those things that allow me to taste, touch, smell, hear or see. You, Senses, are never to be taken for granted again. But you. YOU got your revenge. You left me when I had a bad cold. When I needed you the most. When I needed food to taste good to get my strength back. I needed you really badly but you decided to throw a hissy fit and escaped with Sneeze. Shame on you. Really. I didn't know I could lose my sense of smell or taste completely for over a week. But then again, I realized a few things when you left on your booger-infested vacation. I realized that the way cappuccino feels in my mouth is the same way the sea feels, with the bubbles and the heaviness. I realized that spicy food made me feel better because I could at least feel the tingling, if not the taste. I realize now that I'm too tired to think of more realizations. So, please behave from now on, Senses. And I'm sorry again for taking you for granted. 
Love and Resentment,
Captain Sensational 

Today, we need something with flavor. Strong flavor. Bursting flavor. Intense flavor. Unmistakable flavor. Developed flavor. Yummy flavor. Commanding flavor. Flavor that doesn't allow people to say, "Ewwww. Egggplaaant." Play the adjectives game with me?
Serves: 6 sides (I bothered to see how many servings it covers today! Hooray!)
You'll need:
500 grams of pasta
1 large aubergine, cubed
2 tablespoons of olive oil (You could also use any kind of vegetable oil. I used a garlic chili  olive oil this time but usually use EVOO.)
2 cans of diced tomatoes (You could also use whole. I want mine cubey.)
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
3 tablespoons of hot water
1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon of white vinegar
4 to 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2-1 tablespoon of sugar (depending on how acidic your sauce turns out to be.)
1 teaspoon of chili flakes
2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste

You can make this in a pan or a pot. Your choice. Heat your olive oil over medium heat. Add your diced onions and let them sweat for a couple of minutes. Don't let it burn. 
Now, add HALF of your aubergine (or if you'd like to call it eggplant, go ahead; but my momma taught me fancy words). Let it sauté for 8-10 minutes until it gets a little tender. Fry the other half of the aubergine separately until it browns up. Take it out of the oil, drain the excess oil and leave it on the side to cool. 
Add the diced tomatoes and let it simmer for 2 minutes. Dump in the vinegar, chopped garlic, tomato paste and hot water. Mix it all in and sprinkle the sugar all over the top and let it seep in. Add the chili flakes, the fried aubergine, grated Parmesan then add your salt and pepper to taste. I won't tell you how much to add. My salt intake is not to be taken lightly. Sigh. Leave it to simmer for 10 to 20 minutes. The time yours takes depends on whether your aubergine is tender enough and if your sauce has thickened. If your sauce becomes too thick, thin it out with hot water or, even better, hot pasta water. You should boil your pasta in salted water once you've left the sauce to simmer.  
Garnish with Parmesan or fresh parsley. The parsley just works. I didn't have any on hand though so Parmesan it is. 
You don't have to fry half of the aubergine. It works wonderfully both ways. I just prefer the mix of both for extra FLAVOR (word of the day).    
This heats up really well too. Saucy times! :D
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