Friday, July 23, 2010

Inspired Pasta - Penne Alla Jennifer

Have you ever tried a dish at a restaurant so delicious that you can't wait to try to recreate it yourself?

My inspiration came from Fellini's Cafe Trattoria in Media, a cute and busy family BYOB restaurant with authentic Italian meals. A place so down to earth, you order your meal by number. No frills, nothing fancy, just honest food made with care. The #26 caught my eye immediately. The #26, also known as Spagheti Alla Norma, is simply a fresh Tomato Sauce with Eggplant topped with Ricotta over Spaghetti!

Look out Fellini's - it's my time to shine. But no worries, I'll be back.

What You'll Need:

6 Large Roma Tomatoes
1/2 Large Eggplant
Dried Basil
1 Pound Penne or Spaghetti
Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
Ricotta for Topping

- Heat Oven to 350 degrees.
- Chop Eggplant into 1-inch cubes and toss with 2 tbsp. olive oil, with a dash of salt and pepper
- Spread evenly in large pan and cook in oven for 20 minutes, tossing halfway during cooking
- In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil
- While the water heats, heat a large pan over medium-high heat
- Add 1 tbsp olive oil and heat
- Add garlic to pan and cook for 1 minute
- By this time, the water should have come to a boil. Add salt and pasta. Cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until al dente
- In the meantime, chop tomatoes in one inch cubes and carefully toss in pan
- Add a pinch of salt, pepper and approximately 1 tsp. basil
- Cook tomatoes for 10 minutes, stirring often

- When eggplant is finished cooking, add to tomato mixture and stir to combine.

- Add 1/2 cup pasta water to tomato mixture
- Drain pasta and add to tomato-eggplant mixture
- Remove from heat.
- Stir to combine

- Serve with a few dollops of ricotta sprinkled with a dash of basil

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