Saturday, August 28, 2010

Breaded Eggplant Pasta

I'm a big fan of rummaging through my fridge and cabinets, combining whatever I come across, and creating something simple and delicious.  Usually this happens to be a mix of pasta and whatever veggies I find.  Take this recipe for what it is, a mix of things I think are tasty together.  Some of the best cooking happens when we're inspired by a dish we eat or read about, then alter it to make it our own.

I used:

1 box of whole wheat spaghetti (experiment with different brands - some taste awful and others are great!)
3 tiny (local) eggplants
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 an onion, sliced
4 strips vegetarian 'bacon', chopped into thin slices
1 cup frozen peas
1 large clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
extra virgin olive oil

Start off my getting a large pot on the stove to boil the water for your spaghetti.  While you're waiting, slice the eggplant into thin disks.  Dip each disk first into the beaten egg, then coat with breadcrumbs.  Let some oil heat up in a frying pan, then place them in, making sure they don't overlap.

Give them a few minutes, but be sure to turn them over once they take on a beautiful brown.  (Yes, I use an electric stove.  It stinks, but as a trade-off we now have more counter space and *gasp!* a dishwasher!)

Once they eggplant are browned on both sides, transfer them to a dish.  You may want to pat out extra oil with a paper towel.  I didn't.  I think the oil really adds lots of flavor and they didn't seem too greasy.  At this point your water is probably boiling.  Toss the spaghetti in with a little olive oil so it doesn't stick together.

Using the pan you just took eggplant out of, begin sauteing the onions and 'bacon'.  Once they've gotten a good head start, add the peas and garlic.  Cook just long enough for the peas to thaw and become hot.  You also want to be sure that your garlic doesn't brown and turn bitter, so it's all about the timing here at the end.

The last step is the easiest.  Strain the spaghetti and mix in your veggies and cheese.  I garnished with some fresh chives, but could have just as easily gone without.  Use whatever you've got!  We found this to be very filling and tasty.  Enjoy!

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