I made Rigatoni Melanzane out of Evan Kleiman's Angeli Caffe cookbook the other night. The recipes are from her restaurant in Los Angeles. I love eggplant, especially now that we are getting into late summer and the eggplants are at their best. The recipe in the book calls for pork ribs. I'm kinda off pork right now, having just been to the fair and all, I just can't get those darling pigs out of my head. That may change. Or not. I'm really not much of a fan of pork..other than for bacon in the morning, bacon when we are craving BLT'S using our tomatoes from the garden, canadian bacon on my pizza, ham for Easter dinner.... Oh, no, this isn't going well...
Anyway...here is the recipe for the eggplant pasta. And it was just as good without pork. At least for today. It was our lunch for Saturday. Leftover, from the other night. And still good.
Meat-Enriched Tomato Sauce, Eggplant,Fresh Mozzarella
Adapted From Evan Kleiman
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 slab pork ribs (approximately 3/4 pounds)
8 ripe tomatoes or one 28 ounce can San Marzano or Organic Muir Glen
One 10 ounce can tomato sauce (if using canned tomatoes)
10 fresh basil leaves, torn
Sea salt and fresh pepper
Olive oil for frying
1 large eggplant, ends trimmed,peeled and cut into 1/2" dice
1 pound imported rigatoni
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, drained and cut into small dice
Grated parmesan cheese for the table
Heat the oil and the garlic in a heavy saucepan. Cook garlic until it is a deep golden brown, then remove the garlic and discard. Add the pork ribs to the pan and brown them well on all sides. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Puree the tomatoes and their juice in a food processor. Pour tomato puree into a pot with the ribs. Add tomato sauce if using canned tomatoes, and the basil. Bring to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook till sauce thickens about 30 to 40 minutes.Remove the ribs and let anyone who helped cook enjoy them as a special treat.
While the sauce is cooking, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches in a large skillet.Add half the eggplant and cook till golden brown.Lift eggplant out and drain on paper towels. Cook the rest of the eggplant in the same manner.
Cook the pasta in an abundant of boilg salted water till al dente. Carefully drain the past and place in a serving bowl. Add the tomato sauce, cooked eggplant, and mozzarella and toss to mix. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese at the table.
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