for pasta or rice
Today was a "take a look in the fridge and see what I can come up with " day! I saw that I had an eggplant and spicy green olives - my wheels started turning and here is what I came up with!
Ingredients for 2
1 medium eggplant
about 1/2 cup of green olives, if you can find the spicy kind - good, otherwise the ones stuffed with pimiento will work fine.
about 1/2 cup of tomato sauce or canned Italian plum tomatos
1 clove garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
freshly grated parmigiano cheese
First cut the eggplant in quarters lengthwise and then slice each quarter in half again lengthwise. Now cut each wedge into about 5 chunks so that each piece had one side with the skin still on it - this keeps the eggplant from falling apart in the sauce! Coarsely chop or slice the olives.
Saute the eggplant in a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with the garlic clove in a large non-stick frying pan. Stir from time to time so that all sides of the eggplant chunks get browned.
** Does it really make a difference if I don't use extra virgin olive oil? the answer, in my book, is YES!! I would even go as far to say that using Spanish or Greek or Californian olive oil will change the taste. Which is not to say that these oils are equally delicious. However oils from different olives or different regions DO taste different and different grades really do make a difference. If you prefer a lighter, less "olivy" taste - go ahead and use olive oil in the place of the extra virgin.**
When the eggplant is nicely browned on all sides. Add the chopped or sliced olives olives and toss to mix. Now add the tomato sauce. If you are using the plum tomatoes you don't have to blend them, I just kind of squish them through my fingers (wash your hands!) right into the pan. Check for salt and pepper and correct the seasoning. Turn the heat to low and let the sauce simmer. It will be a thick and chunky sauce, not liquid.
Put a pot of water on to boil for your pasta or rice. I made both today, my husband wanted whole grain rice, I wanted rigatoni pasta! When the water boils, cook the rice or pasta. (This is a great way to use left over white rice, even if it's left over from the Chinese take-out you had last night!)
Drain and add the pasta or rice to the frying pan with the sauce. Turn up the heat for a couple of minutes and toss the pasta or rice with the condiment so that the flavor soaks in! That's it! Transfer to plates and serve with freshly grated parmigiano cheese!