Thursday, 22 August 2013

Beat It!

Linguine con Salsa Battuta di Melanzane e Pomodoro
Linguini with a Quick Eggplant & Tomato Sauce

You are going to hate me for claiming that this is a quick, easy and delicious dish... and do you know what? It really was! In fact it was all of that and a whole lot more! I had been saving the last of my cute, little, baby eggplants for making something special with, but then decided to go ahead and use them to make this pasta sauce instead... only to discover that the result WAS something special!

The term "battuta", means "beaten" when translated into English- as in "briskly stirred with a spoon". Which is more or less the way this sauce was made. The secret is to make it in a frying pan rather than a saucepan, as you will have a larger surface area of sauce cooking at a given time, therefore the sauce cooks and evaporates at a faster rate. There is no rocket science involved in this dish- just plenty of flavor and fun! 

First things first- that pasta needed to be boiled! And whilst it was bubbling away, I started my sauce sizzling in a frying pan, by finely chopping a little bacon, celery, garlic and Spring onion and popping them into a dry frying pan. You know by now that the bacon has enough fat and you don't need any added oil at this point. Whilst that was gently browning and the pasta was boiling, I sliced up the mini-eggplants to make the sauce- 4 of them went into this single serving, but a half of a regular-sized eggplant would work just the same. 

After the pasta had been cooking for 5 minutes, I added the eggplant slices to the water, letting them just float on top and cook for the last 3 minutes of time the pasta needed. Whilst that was happening, I diced a regular-sized plum tomato and added it to the frying pan along with a little finely chopped parsley and basil and a good pinch of chili flakes. I seasoned it with salt and pepper, a little grated nutmeg and a pinch of sugar, then added a tablespoon of tomato paste and kept on stirring...

Once the pasta was done, I removed the eggplant from the top, using a slotted spoon and added it to the frying pan, along with a little of the cooking water- which of courser immediately deglazed the frying pan and began to transform the cooked-in yumminess of all of the ingredients into a yummy sauce. At this point I added a little olive oil and turned up the heat, stirring the eggplant in and letting it get nicely browned off. 

I drained the pasta and gave it a drizzle of olive oil to keep it nice and smooth and delicious, so that it didn't dry-out in the meantime- but of course that sauce didn't take too much longer to come together... which was a very good thing... because I was a very hungry customer by that point! All in all it took just 10 minutes- 15 at the most to make :-)

Onto the pasta the sauce went, onto the sauce went some freshly grated Parmesan, on top of that went a sprinkle of coarsely ground black pepper as always and last but by no means least went a last drizzle of olive oil, Told you it was easy- told you it was quick! But I doubt that I need to tell you that it was delicious! Nope- I didn't think so! Enjoy!

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