Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Roasted Eggplant-Tomato Sauce

More eggplant, as promised. It sort of hides in this sauce, but it does add some nice body and texture, and a subtle flavor. And roasting tomatoes is definitely my new favorite thing to do with them. Serve this with pasta.

Also, you can make this with frozen whole tomatoes. In fact, it might just be the best possible way to use frozen whole tomatoes. Remove them from the freezer and run under warm water to slip the skins off. Then they can go straight into the oven.

2 lbs eggplant (larger types are best)
2 lbs whole tomatoes (paste types are good, but use what you have)
olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 lb sweet Italian sausage (optional)
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium shallots, minced

Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.

Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and rub the cut side with olive oil. Place cut side down in a baking pan.

Remove the skins from the tomatoes (you can do this by quickly blanching in boiling water, then running under cold water; or run frozen ones under warm water). Place then in another baking dish, one with fairly high sides. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place both baking pans in the oven and roast for 20-30 minutes, until the eggplant is completely tender. Remove and let cool.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop the tomatoes out of their pan (there will be a lot of liquid) and place them in a colander over a bowl (reserve the liquid; you may need some of it).

When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh (or peel the skin off; either way works) and puree it in a food processor. Set aside.

Heat some olive oil in Dutch oven. If using the sausage, add to the pan and brown it well, breaking it into pieces as you go. Drain off most of the fat. Add the garlic and shallots to the pan and saute over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and eggplant and mix well. Stir in some of the reserved tomato liquid if desired, to reach a sauce consistency that you like.

Serve over pasta. Makes enough to serve with 1 lb pasta.

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