Every family has their 'go to' pasta dish that they make when they don't know what else to have for dinner. I will go out on a limb and guess that the pasta dish that 90% of American families 'go to' is either spaghetti with meat sauce or macaroni and cheese (probably from a blue box). We enjoy these dishes on occasion (definitely not blue box, but home made Mom's Macaroni and Cheese), but our family favorite is Fettuccine Rigate Alla Norma.
Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables. It comes in such an array of shapes, sizes and colors. Eggplant has a 'meaty' texture that makes it a shining star in a many a dish.
I remember being completely enamored by the traditional large, purplish eggplants as a child. I think it is because the name eggplant, which frankly doesn't give such an extraordinary vegetable justice. The French have a much better name, which is also a color: aubergine.
I can still remember the first time I tried eggplant. I was probably 10-12 years old and we were visiting my grandparents in Maryland. We went out for a super fancy seafood meal at Haussener's Restaurant in Baltimore. I ordered eggplant as one of my side dishes and remember it more fondly than the stuffed shrimp that came as the main course. The eggplant was breaded and fried. Crunchy and delicious perfection. I was hooked for life!
Eggplant is certainly a shining star in this dish! The original recipe called for spaghetti as the pasta source, but we tend to prefer fettuccine at our house. Once we discovered fettuccine rigate with its ridges to better hold the sauce, we didn't look back at plain fettuccine.
One of the benefits of this recipe: it tastes just as good the following day for lunch.
FETTUCCINE RIGATE ALLA NORMA
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 - 2 cloves garlic, mashed and diced
- 6 - 8 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1 large eggplant, peeled and diced
- salt to taste
- 10 oz (280 g) fettuccine rigate (or other pasta of choice)
- olive oil to taste
- fresh basil to taste
- fresh mozarella to taste, diced
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large skillet.
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant and slightly browned.
- Add tomatoes and cook uncovered over medium-low heat until most of the juice has been evaporated, approximately 20 minutes.
- Add eggplant to tomatoes, mix well and and cover. Cook until softened, approximately 20 - 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Salt to taste.
- Prepare fettuccine rigate (or other pasta of choice) according to package directions.
- Toss pasta with eggplant-tomato mixture.
- Serve with olive oil, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella cheese.
This recipe was obtained from Cooking Light many years ago.