Thursday, July 30, 2009

Learning to like eggplant! Stop and Shop Bargain Meal

I have never been a huge eggplant fan, but I am trying really hard to like it, and to learn to cook it in tasty ways. It comes in handy when there aren't any great deals on meat to be had. So far, me (and the kids) prefer eggplant as an accent in a baked pasta dish. Eggplant is .99/lb this week at Stop and Shop, as is (good ole) zucchini & summer squash (we will definitely miss the zucchini/ summer squash sales in the dead of winter.)

Baked Pasta with Eggplant Parm Nibbles

1 medium eggplant
1/2 tsp salt
Bread crumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 cups chopped veggies of choice (I choose... zucchini!)
1/2 box pasta (ziti, penne, rotini all work well)
1 jar pasta sauce or 2 15 oz. cans of tomatoes in some form
1/2 cup shredded cheese

  1. First, you need to prep the eggplant. Erin gives a beautiful description on how to do this here. Basically, peel the eggplant, chop it into small pieces, put it in a colander, sprinkle a little salt on it and let it drain for a while (30 minutes to an hour.) You can prepare more than one eggplant this way and freeze some for later.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions and chop up your other vegetables.
  3. Heat the olive oil in your skillet to medium high. While it's warming up, take a bowl of bread crumbs and roll the eggplant in the crumbs, a few at a time. I find that the crumbs stick to the eggplant just fine without dipping them in egg or anything, but you could do that if you wanted. Then you want to saute your eggplant pieces in the oil until they are golden brown. You could probably get much crispier pieces if you deep-fried them, but I don't really fry things.
  4. When the pasta is done, mix it in a 9 x 13 baking pan with the sauce and/or tomatoes. Stir the vegetables and the cooked eggplant in as well. Then top with cheese and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. Serve with corn on the cob- it's on sale for 12 for 1.99 (about 17 cents an ear!)

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