Sunday, December 23, 2007
Who doesn't love pasta? After all, there's so much to love. The slippery, satisfying bite of the noodle, the tangily tantalizing tomato, those heavenly herbs and their ethereal aromas...Simply made or put together with a bazillion ingredients, pasta is always a meal to look forward to.
Last night, I wanted to throw something together quickly so that we could teleconference with Desi's family which is scattered around the globe. After spending the day running errands and walking dogs, there was little time left to cook. In the end, pasta it was.
Luckily for me, it was one of those rare times when I had many pasta-friendly ingredients sitting around the pantry and in the refrigerator: an eggplant, some sun-dried tomatoes, capers and even some veggie mushroom "meatballs" that I found in the freezer section at Whole Foods. I also had some great whole-grain thin spaghetti on hand.
For those who haven't tried whole-grain pastas which are relatively new on the market, I have a request: please do. They taste great, take just minutes to cook, and are wonderfully healthy with much higher amounts of fiber and protein than their more "refined" counterparts that we've all been using for years and which do nothing for you other than fill you up with bad carbs.
I added some almond milk at the very end to the sauce. In addition to its healthy qualities, almond milk is delicious and enhances the creaminess of the eggplant sauce.
So here's my Saturday-night pasta recipe, Spaghetti with Sundried Tomato Pesto and Mushroom Meatballs. This one's a keeper.
1 large eggplant, halved
8-10 sundried tomatoes
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium tomatoes, diced, or 1 cup diced, canned tomatoes
1 tsp dried basil
4 artichoke hearts (optional)
1 tsp red chili flakes
Pepper and salt to taste
12 meatless meatballs
8-10 crimini mushrooms (can substitute with white button mushrooms)
1 cup almond milk
2-3 tbsp capers, drained
1 13.5 oz package of thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta
Coat the eggplant with 1 tsp of olive oil and place in a cookie sheet, cut side down, in a 350-degree oven. Bake about 20-25 minutes or until the eggplant is tender and a knife slides easily into the middle. Set aside to cool.
In a food processor, combine the sundried tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, basil, pepper, red chili flakes and artichoke hearts. Add the eggplant after peeling off the skin. Process until you have a fairly smooth paste.
In a saucepan, warm a little olive oil. Add mushrooms, meatballs and about 1/2 cup white wine. Cook until the mushrooms and the meatballs turn brown, about 5 minutes.
Add the sundried tomato paste and the tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes or until heated through. Add almond milk and mix thoroughly.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Add the pasta to the sauce and turn to coat. Serve hot, garnished with a few capers.
I didn't have any fresh herbs on hand, but some chopped fresh basil or fresh parsley would go wonderfully with this sauce.
Hope you enjoy it.