There’s something to be said about simple summer meals. For this I often go with pasta. What better way to do pasta than with light summer veggies. Any combination of veggies will do. I’m a big fan of zucchini almost any way I can eat it. In pasta is no different. Toss it with some fresh corn off the cob, a couple of tomatoes, and some kale and I’m in food heaven.
But this isn’t about zucchini. It isn’t about corn on or off the cob. No tomatoes here. It’s all about one of summer’s prettiest veggies, eggplant. I used to shy away from them because I didn’t know how to cook them. I didn’t know that you could peel them, and salt them to draw out some of the bitterness. Now they’re a fun treat. This summer I’ve crisped them up and dipped them in a creamy homemade sauce.
As I’ve mentioned before, I love a squeeze of lemon to finish a dish. This is no different. The lemon brightens things up.
Basil adds a summery grassy note.
Serve this to your family and friends and they may just tell you that it reminds them of their Italian cooking or the time they spent in Italy.
- 1 eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise ¼
- salt (for eggplant)
- 2 T olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, diced or chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, diced
- salt and pepper
- pinch thyme
- pinch red pepper flakes
- ½ C vegetable stock or pasta water
- 1-2 C cooked pasta
- basil, fresh, chopped, for topping
- lemon slices, for topping
- 1Arrange eggplant on a baking sheet and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let stand for 15-30 minutes (drawing out the moisture, rendering them less bitter). Rinse and pat dry. Chop or dice.
- 2Heat skillet. Add 1 T oil. When oil is hot, add onion, eggplant, and seasonings. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring often, over medium heat.
- 3Add garlic and remaining oil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
- 4Add pasta and vegetable stock (or pasta water). Stir. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. (If using leftover pasta, cook for a few minutes more, or until pasta is heated through.)
- 5Serve topped with basil and a squeeze of lemon.