Sunday, November 05, 2006

Gemelli with Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Sauce

What could be better than a baking sheet full of roasted tomato goodness?

A baking sheet full of roasted tomato and baby eggplant goodness. I bought them both last week with the idea that I would cook up some kind of sauce with them but never got around to it. By this morning, the baby eggplants were pretty much now or never so I knew I had to do something with them today.

I was just going to throw them into the microwave and cook them there. But it's a cool enough day that I got it in my head that I might as well roast them in the oven. And since the oven was going to be on for the eggplant, I might as well throw the tomatoes in there as well, right? So I cut the eggplants in half, brushed some olive oil on them, and laid them cut-side down on a baking sheet. Then I halved the tomatoes and seeded them. After coating them with olive olive oil as well, I laid them cut-side down on another sheet. I put them in a 400-degree oven and left them there for 40 minutes. Within 15 miutes I started to smell them and it made my apartment all warm and roasty.

I made a sauce out of them with garlic and onions, seasoned with the greek oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. The ratio of tomato to eggplant was a little light, so I added some tomato powder.

What's tomato powder, you ask? Oh, just something the spice geek picked up quite a while ago at The Spice House. I had never seen anything like it, but it seemed like a good thing to have on hand. I put it in the fridge when I got it home and kind of forgot that I had it. But a couple of weeks ago I needed just a little tomato sauce and didn't have any (!) and I remembered it sitting in the door of the fridge. I took it out, put a four-to-one ratio with water into a little bowl, and lo and behold I had me some tomato sauce that smelled and tasted as if it had just been squeezed out of the tomato.

I can't recommend this stuff highly enough. A three-to-one ratio makes paste; four-to-one makes sauce. And it's just tomato powder. Nothing else. And it keeps forever. At least I know for a fact it lasts more than a year.

I served this over gemelli. The result? Fahbulous, dahling.

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Sauce

2 Tbsp olive oil
4 large tomatoes, halved and seeded
4 baby eggplants, halved lengthwise
4-6 cloves garlic, lightly crushed and sliced
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 Tbsp tomato powder
4 Tbsp water
salt and pepper to taste

Use 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to brush the cut surfaces of the eggplant and tomatoes. Place them cut side down on separate baking sheets and bake in a 400-degree oven for 40 minutes. While they're cooling, prep the other ingredients. After they've cooled enough, scoop the insides out of the eggplant and skin the potatoes. Put them in separate bowls. Make tomato sauce by mixing the tomato powder and water in a small bowl.

Heat the other tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and garlic and saute until translucent. Add oregano, thyme, salt and pepper and cook for a minute or two longer. Add eggplant and break it up, cooking until it's thoroughly heated and the pan is sizzling again. Add the tomatoes and the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook for another 15-20 minutes.

Serve over gemelli or other short whole what pasta.

Yesterday I went with some knitting friends to a Dulaan Project knit-in that Franklin Habit of Panopticon coordinated, along with some help from Bonne Marie and a couple of other folks. It was a lot of work and there were a lot of people there all knitting wonderful things for a good cause. I'm in one of those pictures, but I defy anyone other than Melinda, Louann or Mary to find me.

And now I have to go get started on my dish for the latest Spice is Right event.


Yam said...

Hi Deb - I think I found you! LouAnn's head is blocking you, but you're working with a ball of red yarn. I kinda recognized your hair. Anyway, it seemed like a fun time, really great idea, which I was there.

dejamo said...

I should have known you'd find me, Yam :)

It was a fun time, but it would have totally rocked if you were there.

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