Cooking What I Like With Love

Eggplant and Smoked Gouda Pasta

Eggplant and Smoked Gouda Pasta

I’ve worked in restaurants for a long time. Some of them were good and some of them were bad. Most of them had one dish that stood out to me. After college, I lived in Morristown, NJ and worked at a restaurant in the town square. It was an average restaurant with average food. However, there was this eggplant pasta that was AH-mazing. Since it’s been 15 years since I’ve eaten the dish, it was difficult when I tried to recreate it. I know it had fire-roasted tomatoes, eggplant cubes and chunks of nearly melted smoked gouda cheese. And it was ridiculously good.

Every time I tried to make it, it was good, but not great. I have a tendency to over sauce pasta, and the eggplant kept getting saucy. But then…I was watching a line cook making a pasta dish at the restaurant where I currently work and I got a ZING! Sauce the already roasted ingredients quickly, add in some pasta water and toss! And I really think I did it. This dish is full of flavor, without a heavy sauce. The tomatoes are so sweet and intense from the roasting. The bits of gouda cheese are only half-melted, so they add a creaminess without making it a stodgy meal. This would be great with some chicken added to it if you want more protein. If you’re not a fan of smoked gouda, I think the pearl-sized fresh mozzarella balls (bocconcini) would be great to add instead, or just quarter cherry-sized mozz balls (ciliegine). I roasted Campari tomatoes, but you could also use cherry tomatoes or even just drain a can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes, but if you do this, I’d add a little more chicken stock or pasta water. It’s a great dish and I’m pretty proud of it. I hope you enjoy it too!

 

Here we go! Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a baking pan and a casserole pan with parchment. Dice eggplant into half-inch cubes. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet. Halve Campari tomatoes, Cut them width-wise, so that the stem side is on the top of one half. They cook better this way. Coat the bottom of the casserole with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil. Place tomatoes cut-side down and use a brush or a paper towel to brush the tops with oil. Tuck garlic cloves and basil in around the tomatoes. Roast for about 30-40 minutes. The eggplant should be soft and have a little color. The tomato skins should be very wrinkled. Remove from the oven and set aside, discarding the liquid from the tomatoes but keeping the garlic and basil. This step can be done a day or two ahead of time.

   

Sorry…the tomato pic is actually cooked with thyme. I forgot to take a pic but luckily I had this one from something else!

Boil salted water and prepare pasta al dente, according to package instructions, reserving a 1/4 cup of the pasta liquid in a bowl. Coat the bottom of a wide Dutch oven with olive oil and heat to medium. Sauté shallot until it begins to get some color, 2-3 minutes. Deglaze pan with a splash of sherry or white wine vinegar. Add tomatoes, basil, butter, red pepper flakes and a sprinkle of salt and fresh black pepper. Cook for a minute or two, so the tomatoes start to melt. Add eggplant and sauté for a few minutes.

If there isn’t much liquid, add a splash of chicken stock and adjust salt and peppers to taste. Add in the cooked pasta and the reserved pasta water and toss. If it seems dry, add a splash or two of chicken stock. When the pasta is well-coated, add in the cheese and toss for 30 seconds.

Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes to let the cheese warm through.

 

Toss again and serve with romano cheese to taste. Serves 4, but would be very easy to double.

 

Eggplant and Smoked Gouda Pasta

Eggplant and Smoked Gouda Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant cut in 1/2 inch cubes
  • 24 oz. halved Campari tomatoes or cherry tomatoes (cherry tomatoes will cook faster, so reduce roasting time)
  • 6 basil Leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • Olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • Dash sherry or white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 pound cavatappi pasta
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped (chiffonaded) basil
  • 1/3 pound smoked gouda cheese cut in half inch cubes
  • Splash chicken stock (a little less than 1/4 cup), as needed
  • Romano cheese for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a baking pan and a casserole pan with parchment. Dice eggplant into half inch cubes. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet. Halve Campari tomatoes, Cut them width-wise, so that the stem side is on the top of one half. They cook better this way. Coat the bottom of the casserole with 2-3 tablespoons olive oil. Place tomatoes cut-side down and use a brush or a paper towel to brush the tops with oil. Tuck garlic cloves and basil in around the tomatoes. Roast for about 30-40 minutes. The eggplant should be soft and have a little color. The tomato skins should be very wrinkled. Remove from the oven and set aside, discarding the liquid from the tomatoes but keeping the garlic and basil. This step can be done a day or two ahead of time.
  2. Boil salted water and prepare pasta al dente, according to package instructions, reserving a 1/4 cup of the pasta liquid in a bowl. Coat the bottom of a wide Dutch oven with olive oil and heat to medium. Sauté shallot until it begins to get some color, 2-3 minutes. Deglaze pan with a splash of sherry or white wine vinegar. Add tomatoes, basil, butter, red pepper flakes and a sprinkle of salt and fresh black pepper. Cook for a minute or two, so the tomatoes start to melt. Add eggplant and sauté for a few minutes.
  3. If there isn't much liquid, add a splash of chicken stock and adjust salt and peppers to taste. Add in the cooked pasta and the reserved pasta water and toss. If it seems dry, add a splash or two of chicken stock. When the pasta is well-coated, add in the cheese and toss for 30 seconds.
  4. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes to let the cheese warm through.
  5. Toss again and serve with romano cheese to taste. Serves 4, but would be very easy to double.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://www.88peas.com/main-dishes/eggplant-and-smoked-gouda-pasta/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *