Have you ever looked at a vegetable and wondered who was the guinea pig that first ate that? Think about it, if you had never seen someone eat an artichoke would you have looked at in the wild and thought, “that looks like dinner!” I have always wondered that when it comes to eggplant. It is such a dark purple color almost black, it is light in weight, almost sponge like in texture, and depending on the specific eggplant it can be bitter. At first bite of this dark, fleshy, bitter-tasting vegetable I would have been convinced I was being poisoned. I am blaming this highly illogical reason as to why it has taken me so long to grow a love affair for eggplant. Of course once again, my love showed me some reason and a recipe that made me see why countless people love the little purple plant.
Roasted eggplant takes on a nutty quality and reduces the bitterness that sometimes can be present. By thinning it out with broth and olive oil, there is a velvety texture that coats the pasta and adds body. It is such a rich dish while still being healthy. The acid from tomatoes cuts the thickness and balances the flavors. It is hearty, filling, and flat-out delicious. This dish will make that purple delight a part of your weekly grocery list.
1 large eggplant
1 large shallot
1/2c -1 c chicken broth
1/4 c olive oil
1 roasted hatch chile
1/3 c of chopped cherry tomatoes
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into one inch pieces
1/4 c grated parmesan
1 box of spaghetti
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400. Make 4-5 slits in the eggplant and wedge slivers of the shallot in each slit (you can also use garlic if you prefer). Place on a sheet pan and roast until tender and collapsed. 20-40 minutes depending on size. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Skin and remove top of eggplant.
In a blender place the skinned eggplant and hatch chile and blend on high. Slowly add the olive oil and broth until you get your desired consistency. You want it to coat the back of spoon but not be overly thick. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a skillet, heat a bit of oil on medium high heat. Add the tomatoes until they blister then add the remainder of the minced shallot. Cook until translucent being careful not to burn the shallot. Add the asparagus and saute until just cooked. Pour in the eggplant sauce, season again with salt and pepper. Add the parmesan and mix. Add the cooked spaghetti to the eggplant puree and stir to coat. Serve and top with extra parmesan! yum yum!
Sidenote: You can also add meat to this dish. Chicken sausage is a delicious addition.