So patiently I waited, stowing my precious eggplant in the refrigerator to await a mate. On Saturday I hustled out of the house and down to the market arriving promptly six minutes after ten only to see droves of people, more than have ever been there before. In a panic I hopped out of my car, positive I was going to miss out on what was probably my only chance to secure the other eggplant that was likely for sale that morning.
I made my way through the crowd trying to act nonchalant, making small talk with the other vendors, but I could see that the crowds had began to gather around Becky the Eggplant Lady. Could everyone in this tiny town be experiencing the same insatiable urge?
As I got closer I saw there was not one, but three Japanese eggplants for sale on her table. I shimmied my way to the front as…ahem..politely as possible, only to realize that no one there gave a crap about the eggplant. To me Becky is The Eggplant Lady, to everyone else she’s The Corn Lady. They were all there for the corn, thank God! I bought all three of those lovely eggplant and left the masses to push and shove over their ears of corn.
I don’t peel the tomatoes before making the sauce, but if you are finicky about bits of skin remove the core of the tomatoes and slash a small x on the underside. Plunge in boiling water for 30 seconds or so then submerge in ice water until cool enough to handle. Peel the tomatoes and chop.
For the Pasta with Tomato Sauce:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 3 1/2 pounds tomatoes, chopped
- 1 pound spaghetti or linguine
- basil leaves for garnish
For the Eggplant:
- 1 1/2 pounds Japanese or Heirloom variety eggplant, roughly chopped
- Olive oil for frying
For the Tomato Sauce:
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add garlic and continue to cook 2 minutes more. Add tomatoes, season again with salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 10 minutes. Uncover and continue simmering until onions are tender and sauce has thickened slightly, about 20-30 minutes. Taste and add more salt if desired.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Once boiling add pasta and cook according to package instructions.
For the Eggplant:
- Place eggplant in a colander and generously season with salt. Toss to distribute salt and let drain in the kitchen sink while oil is heating.
- Fill a large frying pan with 1/2-inch of olive oil and place over medium heat. Let heat until shimmering, about 5 minutes. Oil is hot enough when a piece of eggplant is immediately covered with bubbles when dropped in the oil.
- Fry eggplant in two batches until golden brown, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon or bamboo skimmer and repeat with remaining eggplant.
- Drain pasta and return to pot. Ladle tomato sauce over pasta (you may have leftovers depending on how saucy you like your pasta) and add fried eggplant. Gently toss to combine and serve with torn basil leaves.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 500Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 28mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 10gSugar: 17gProtein: 13g