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.

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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]

Printable recipe

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

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