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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.