I am excited to share with you this recipe for fettuccine [aka little ribbons] with eggplant, tomato and blue cheese. The inspiration for this dish came from a recipe I snipped out of a past issue of Edible Twin Cities I had great success with this the first time around, but I’m always up for adapting my favorite recipes to work with what I have on hand.
Here, I’ve used fettuccine; the original recipe calls for penne. Any pasta really would serve as a nice substitute. I’m a sucker for the little shapes – especially chiocciole, campanelle, cavatapi, gemelli.
It is simply roasted eggplant, sautéed red onion and garlic, sherry vinegar, hot chilli pepper flakes, fresh tomato, tomato sauce, mushroom and basil chiffonade tossed with the little ribbons. Finished with a bit of blue cheese, parsley and fruity extra virgin olive oil, it’s a terrific way to use some of your summer bounty.
Little Ribbons with Eggplant, Tomato and Blue Cheese [serves 2]
1/2 large eggplant, cut into 3/4″ cubes
2 T olive oil
1/4 medium to large red onion, sliced thinly
1 medium clove garlic, minced
a handful of fresh basil, sliced into thin strips [chiffonade]
1/4 to 1/3 lb fettuccine pasta [depending on your appetite]
2 T sherry vinegar [I used a one:one combo of sherry cooking wine and red wine vinegar]
1 large roma tomato, diced
1/2 c tomato sauce
2-3 large button mushrooms, washed and diced
hot chilli pepper flakes, to taste [I used about 3/4 t for a good kick]
1 T minced fresh parsley
about 4 oz blue cheese, cut into small cubes
a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, 1 to 1 1/2 T
salt, if necessary
Preheat oven to 400 F. Spread eggplant in a single layer on a small sheet pan and toss with 1 T olive oil. Roast in oven for 20 minutes, or until eggplant is brown and tender.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Generously salt the water and add fettuccine; cook according to package directions, or until al dente.
Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan and cook onions in the remaining 1 T olive oil until just caramelized. Add garlic, cook for a moment or two more, and deglaze pan with sherry vinegar. Add the roasted eggplant, tomato and tomato sauce, mushrooms, pepper flakes and the basil. Heat sauce to simmering.
Using a pair of tongs, transfer cooked fettuccine directly into sauce and toss gently; reserve the pasta water. Add the parsley, blue cheese and extra virgin olive oil, tossing again to combine. If the sauce is a little dry or not coating the pasta as much as you’d like, add 2-4T pasta water and allow to cook a minute or two; the cheese should melt down and mix with the existing liquid and starchy pasta water to create a luxurious sauce. Check for seasoning, adjust as necessary. Serve hot with extra basil or blue cheese crumbles to top. [He added a fine grating of Pecorino to the top of his.]
Adapted from Edible Twin Cities