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eggplant ragu

In dinner on August 2, 2015 at 9:17 pm

it’s been quite a bit too hot for pasta recently, but we had a cool evening last week and fortunately, i was prepared. both of my local farmers markets (mondays in central, tuesdays in harvard) carry fresh pasta by valicenti pasta farm. so amazingly delicious. we loved the ravioli a couple weeks ago, so this time i grabbed super-wide flat noodles that were flavored and colored with wine. i also grabbed a big, beautiful eggplant.

eppastaep

eggplant doesn’t have a ton of flavor on its own, so i knew i needed to build this pasta sauce with attention to detail from the ground up. i started by cubing my e.p., salting it very well, and letting it drain in a colander for an hour or so.

then i used a clean dishtowel to pat it dry. in a cast iron skillet over medium heat, i browned it very well in small batches. too much in the pan and it steams – i wanted browning.

eppastaepbrowning

in another pot i sauteed garlic and a small chopped up onion, as well as five or six small yellow carrots i had left over (that had seen better days. they were a little on the soft side, but that doesn’t matter in a sauce). once the veggies were softened, i splashed in half a cup or so of white wine and let it cook a little.

eppastaepinsauce

then as the e.p. browned in batches, i put it in the pot, along with a box of chopped pomi tomatoes, some oregano, salt, pepper, a little sugar, crushed red pepper and some garlic powder.

eppastasaucechunky

once everything was together, i took several big ladles-full, probably almost 80 percent of the mixture, and pulsed it 10 or so times in my food processor. i wanted chunky and combined, not totally pureed into mush.

eppastasaucedone

back into the pot to stew a little longer, when he came along for a taste test. as much as it sounds like i salt everything to death, he always adds a little more and it’s perfect. so, more salt and capers!

after cooking the pasta, i also added about a cup of pasta-cooking water and stirred it into the sauce.

eppastaserved

sorry it’s so dark! but the sauce really turned out well. the flavor was great – you definitely got bites you could tell were eggplant – and i really liked the texture. it coated the noodles nicely.

plus i saved the rest of the sauce we didn’t use and made pizza a couple nights later.

update

In Uncategorized on July 26, 2015 at 10:17 pm

well hello again! thanks for stopping by, despite the deplorable lack of updates recently. it’s not that i haven’t been cooking, it’s that i just haven’t been posting. so here’s a smattering of what i’ve been up to in the kitchen.

a raspberry-balsamic trifle.

raspberrytrifle

when a birthday cake recipe went horribly wrong, i salvaged what i could from it for a trifle. the raspberry element was from frozen berries (that were supposed to be in the naturally-colored pink frosting for the birthday cake) cooked down with a little balsamic to keep it tart and springy. otherwise i think the sweetness of the whole dessert might have been overpowering, but it turned out just right. the only other thing you need is a batch of creme anglais, which is a simple vanilla custard.

summery apps.

summerappsjicima

summerappswatermelon

that’s jicama with cayenne, salt and lime juice, and watermelon and mango cubes with a garlicy cilantro sauce around the edge. brought to a cocktail party where the hostess was making guac, salsa and chips.

strawberry-rhubarb cobbler.

strawberryrhubarbcobbler

plus whipped cream. ’nuff said.

summer salad.

summersalad

for dinner this night i went a little crazy on veggies at the farmers market – gorgeous red lettuce, fresh tomatoes, baby potatoes, green beans, early-season corn, all topped with some sardines and garlic croutons. no dressing needed. i wish i could eat like that every day.

 

 

salad on the sunny side

In lunch on June 23, 2015 at 5:08 pm

i just love how cheerful this salad is.

sunnysalad

that’s baby greens with herbs, thinly sliced yellow pepper and onion, hard boiled egg, some shredded swiss, sunflower seeds and a sharp mustard-herb vinegar dressing.

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