I was far too exhausted to post yesterday – sorry, folks! I know it was probably tough getting through Monday without a new recipe…but I imagine you found the strength to survive. How, I’m not sure, but either way, I’m proud of you. On Friday night, we went to Rye for $5 old fashioneds (and amazing fried brussels sprouts) with our friends Joel and Danny, followed by $1 oysters and shrimp and beers at Miller’s Tavern. We went a bit too hard in the club that night, because we hit up a third spot (albeit one of my favorites), Lucky Dog, to finish out the evening with some shuffleboard. Kramer and I were feeling surprisingly chipper on Saturday morning, and even worked up the courage to actually move our bed to clean and vacuum behind it. When was the last time you did that? Because we hadn’t since we moved in a year and a half ago…so yeah, it was the least fun part of the weekend, but also the most satisfying. Kramer even cleaned out the junk drawers, so they no longer look like a scary mess and are now neatly organized (thanks, Kramer!). After that, I made some cookies and we went to a party at a friend’s place. Sunday, I made waffles and we watched SNL (Daniel Craig fell sort of flat, but some of the sketches were great), then went to Burnside for beers and more shuffleboard, followed, of course, by a few pies from Forcella and The Mist, which was awesome. We stayed up too late watching Boardwalk Empire, but of course, that’s always worth it.
This pasta was one of those spur of the moment type dinners. It also ended up being a fantastic way to clean out my fridge of all the vegetables I had grand plans for but never ended up using; corn, eggplant, shallots, and my personal favorite, black garlic, which is fermented garlic and is a lot of fun to cook with (and eat). It has a rich, almost balsamic-y flavor, with just a hint of garlic’s natural sweetness. I mashed it up into a paste to add to the vegetables and I think it added some real depth to the pasta. You can get black garlic at specialty grocery stores (I got mine on Fresh Direct), and while I wouldn’t say that you’re really missing out if you haven’t tried it, garlic fans will appreciate a new way to use one of their favorite ingredients. The idea for this recipe comes from one of my tried and true favorites, Think Like a Chef. Tom makes an eggplant “caviar” with a few other veggies, and I decided to up the ante a bit, throw in some additional ingredients, and toss it all with pasta and a little Parmesan. Diced up, it definitely looks like a vegetarian caviar that everyone can enjoy.
A food truck done up like Oblina from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters.
Hanging with Morgan, Hannah, Rachel, Kramer, and Matt. Kramer, true to form, doesn’t even have a Twitter account for me to link to; you’ll have to settle with continuing to experience him through me (sadly).
Sprinkle your shallots and eggplant with salt, pepper, and olive oil, and place on a baking sheet to roast. Cover in foil, and roast at 475 degrees F for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and roast for an additional 20-25 minutes.
After your eggplant, corn, and shallots are finished roasting, dice the eggplant and shallots, remove the kernels from the corn, and mash your black garlic into a paste. Mix the vegetables together with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese, then toss with your cooked pasta.
- 2 medium-sized eggplants
- 4-5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves black garlic, smashed into a paste (or 3 cloves regular garlic)
- 2 ears of corn, peeled
- 3 bell peppers, blackened
- 2 shallots, peeled but kept whole
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- ¾ pound pasta, cooked and drained
- red pepper flakes, for garnish
- Heat the oven to 475 degrees F. Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise, then score the tops of the skin just a bit so that it doesn’t peel when baking. Sprinkle the fleshy sides with olive oil, salt, and pepper and place them on a foil lined baking sheet. Place your shallots (and regular garlic, if you’re using it) in a foil packet, and sprinkle again with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Wrap up the packet and place it on the baking sheet with the eggplant. Cover the baking sheet with foil and place in the oven for 25 minutes, checking on it and removing the foil after that time, and allowing it to roast for another 20-25 minutes.
- While the eggplant cooks, wrap your shucked corn in foil and place in the oven with the eggplant. Cook for only the first 25 minutes, then remove and set aside until ready to use.
- While the vegetables roast, turn on 3 burners on your stove (just be careful not to burn yourself!) over medium-high heat. Add your washed and dried bell peppers to eat open flame, and allow them to blacken, turning every so often. Once blackened, place them in a plastic baggie and seal, allowing the skins to steam, which will in turn, make them easier to peel. Once cool enough to handle, peel off the skins and finely dice the bell peppers. Set aside.
- When the eggplant, shallot, garlic, and corn are ready, remove them from the oven. Scoop the flesh out of the eggplant and whisk it (use some elbow grease!) with a bit of kosher salt and about 2 tablespoons of olive oil until it becomes a paste. Add in the diced shallots, kernels of corn, diced bell peppers, and either your roasted garlic smashed into a paste or your black garlic smashed into a paste. Stir or whisk to combine, then add in another few tablespoons of olive oil and your Parmesan cheese. Stir to combine, taste, and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
- Cook and drain your pasta according to package instructions, then portion it into bowls. Divide your vegetables among 2-3 bowls and toss, adding a bit more cheese and olive oil if needed. Sprinkle with a few red pepper flakes and some freshly ground pepper and serve.