This recipe is a staple at our house. What it lacks in complexity it makes up for in adaptability and heartiness. In other words, this is a recipe you can have fun and fill your belly with. I consider what follows the base recipe. I almost never fix it this way. I usually skip the garlic powder and use sauteed or roasted fresh garlic. I also usually add onion. You could also throw in some spinach to give it some green. Marinated artichokes would also be good. Oh, and doesn't it go without saying that fresh herbs are better than dried herbs?

Ingredients:

3 pounds, eggplant, peeled (or not... your choice) and sliced 0.25 inches thick
1 15-ounce can, diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons, olive oil
1 or 2 teaspoons, garlic powder
2 or more teaspoons, dried oregano
1 pound, dried pasta
.25 cup, red wine (optional)
Instructions:
After peeling and slicing the eggplants, it is always a good idea to let them sit for a while and then rinse them off. As time passes, bitter juices seep out of the eggplant's flesh. Rinsing this stuff out results is a better tasting dish. Fry the slices in an oiled skillet on medium high heat. An electric skillet -- the kind with high walls on the side -- is great for this dish. Fry them until they are browned on both sides. As they cook, the slices will become softer, and you might like to cut them into smaller bits with your spatula.

After 10 minutes or so of frying, add the tomatoes, garlic powder, oregano, and wine, if you are using it. Blend it all together, and let it simmer for at least 10 minutes. Longer is better.

While this simmers, cook your pasta. Your choice of pasta is a matter of taste. This is a chunky stew, so something chunky like penne or ziti would work great. Linguine tends to hold the sauce better than spaghetti, but good ol' spag will work if that's all you have in the pantry.

Serve the stew over the pasta and garnish it however you like. We usually go for the standard parmesan cheese, but if you want to keep it vegan, fresh herbs taste great sprinkled on top. Serve this dish with bread and a big salad and you have a healthy meal for 2-4 people (depending on appetite.)

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