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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Penne With Eggplants And Potato

I love pasta and I love looking for new ideas for making pasta. I once saw this recipe from David Rocco's show on  TLC.  Its a great recipe to try during tomato season . Here in Maldives we usually find indian tomatoes which are slightly tart , but if you are lucky you just might get hold of some nice beautiful tomatoes, taste and if they are nice and juicy and sweet  use them for this recipe.
Sweet cherry tomatoes also work well.  I have tried this recipe many times , sometimes I use fresh basil , sometimes I use home made pesto and when both of these were unavailable I used  bottled pesto.

Recipe: Penne with  Eggplants and Potato  adapted from David Rocco's  Pasta alla trapanese recipe

3-4 very ripe tomatoes or use a punnet of cherry tomatoes
2 -3 fresh or bottled pesto or a big handful of  basil
1 red or green chilli ( optional)
1 fat clove of garlic
1/2 cup thinly sliced salami or Robert's Luncheon meat (beef) cut into strips (optional)
1 cup of eggplant cut into 1 1/2 inch strips
1 large or 2 small potatoes , peeled and cut into same size as eggplant ( or use left over french fries)
A generous handful of parmesan or pecorino cheese, grated.
about 1 1/2 cups of Penne pasta
water to cook pasta
salt and pepper
oil for frying
extra virgin olive oil ( about 3-4 tbsp)

1. Bring water to boil with a generous helping of salt.  Add pasta and cook till  al dente. Drain, resevere about 1/2 cup of pasta water.

2. While the pasta is cooking, cut each tomato in half and squeeze the seeds out and discard the seeds.  Place tomatoes, chilli ( if using) , pesto  or basil leaves  and garlic and give a good whiz  puree it up. Add olive oil in a steady strip through the funnel, while the motor is still running.  Pour into a large  mixing bowl , add cheese , season with salt and pepper. Taste  to adjust seasoning .
Set a side.

3. In a small frying pan, with  a tiny oil brown the luncheon meat , remove and set a side.

4. Bring a deep frying pan with vegetable oil. Fry eggplants till golden , drain on kitchen paper, season with a little salt and set a side.  Fry the potatoes  twice, once in oil over medium heat to cook the potatoes then remove, bring the heat up to high and then fry again  so you get nice golden and crispy potatoes. If using  frozen french fries use according to package instructions or reheat the the left over fries in the oven.

5. Toss the fried potatoes,luncheon meat, eggplants and cooked pasta into the sauce till everything is coated well with the tomato sauce mixture. Add a little pasta water to loosen the sauce if you like.

Serve !! Enjoy and have a lovely week end.

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