Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Brian's Italian Sausage and Eggplant Pasta- Delicioso!

A good friend was reminiscing about a wonderful pasta dish he had once enjoyed and how he couldn't find the dish on Vancouver restaurant menus.  I love culinary challenges, so I made it my mission to recreate Brian's favourite pasta dish using eggplant, capers, olives, Italian sausage and cheese.  Brian tells me that I came pretty darn close to the mark.  This hearty dish is quickly put together for a weeknight supper.

Brian's Italian Sausage and Eggplant Pasta

Great News!  Omit the Italian sausage and you have a fabulous vegetarian dish.  Let's call it Jo's Eggplant pasta :-)

Jo's vegetarian version
To serve 4-6

2      Italian sausages (mild or spicy)
1      lb pasta, cooked al dente (rigatoni or penne)
1      eggplant, cubed
2      onions, peeled and diced
2      cloves garlic, minced
1     28-oz can of diced tomatoes
1     cup of tomato puree
1     tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
1/2  cup Kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1     tbsp each of dried oregano and dried basil
1     tsp dried peppers
1     cup ricotta cheese
2     tbsp grated parmesan cheese (for serving)
Salt and pepper to taste


Simmering the vegetables before adding the meat
and the cheese
Remove the sausage casings and break up the sausages.  Saute the sausage meat in a large pan heated over medium-high heat.  When the sausage is almost cooked through, remove from the pan and set aside.  Add a few tablespoons of oil, when hot, add the onions and garlic and cook until softened and the garlic fragrant.  Add the eggplant and cook until lightly browned.  Add the tomato puree and diced tomatoes along with the dried herbs and the sausage meat.  Cook until the eggplant has softened, the meat is cooked through and the sauce thickened. Add the olives and capers. Stir in the cooked pasta. If you find the dry, add more tomato puree.  Taste for seasonings and adjust by adding salt and pepper if needed. Dot the dish with ricotta cheese and cover.  Cook gently for an additional five minutes.  Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the dish before serving.

Make a fabulous vegetarian version by omitting the Italian sausage.  I made the vegetarian version without the cheeses for a more pronounced tomato flavour.

You can add more/different vegetables: zucchini, cauliflower, mushrooms.

You can vary the cheeses by using feta or mozzarella.

You could add a dash of red wine to the sauce.


No comments:

Post a Comment