This is my favorite dish at Mezzaluna, my favorite local Italian Restaurant. Chef Paolo Casagranda makes this simple dish that always tastes so fresh and delicious, especially in the spring when eggplant and tomatoes are seasonal.
Total Preparation and cooking time: 1 hour
Makes 8 servings.
2 medium eggplants cut into small cubes
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste (optional)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large chopped garlic cloves
1 pound can of peeled Italian tomatoes drained
1 ½ pounds plum tomatoes chopped
½ teaspoon course salt
1 pound dry spaghetti preferably Italian imported
2 cups fresh mozzarella cheese cut into small cubes
4 large basil leaves sliced in half
Place the prepared eggplant in the strainer. Sprinkle eggplant with salt. Toss gently and set aside for approximately 20 minutes. After 20 minutes eggplant should be fully drained of water content. Remove eggplant from strainer. Pat dry.
Heat casserole over medium heat. Add extra virgin olive oil. Once the olive oil is heated, add eggplant and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
After 10 minutes, add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Cook for additional 20 minutes or until mixture thickens.
Meanwhile, fill pot with 1 gallon of cold water salt. Bring to a boil. Once water reaches a full boil add spaghetti. Cook spaghetti until aldente (chewy).
Drain spaghetti and add to sauce. Stir together and add mozzarella cheese. Add basil and serve.
Cook’s Tip: You can substitute low-fat ricotta cheese for the mozzarella cheese; you can also use penne, rigatoni, or any other pasta noodle you desire.
Nutrition information per serving:
Saturated Fat 6g
Dietary Fiber 8g
Nutritionist Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN is a former spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and author of the new book “Nutrition At Your Fingertips," as well as "Feed Your Family Right” and “So What Can I Eat?” She is a registered dietitian and certified nutritionist who has counseled families and individuals on managing their weight and various health conditions, from diabetes to high cholesterol. The recipe above is from Feed Your Family Right! (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007), by Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN with Ruth Winter, MS. Learn more at elisazied.com.