Roasted Eggplant & Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

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Having lived in Italy for many years, we tend to be very picky about Italian cuisine and rarely go out to eat at local Italian restaurants in North America because we are too often disappointed. One exception is Osteria Tulia in Naples, Florida. I have enjoyed many meals at Osteria Tulia, and one of my favorite items they serve is a sweet eggplant spread, or caponata, that they serve with bread once you have been seated. After the first time I tasted this very delicious spread I knew I had to make it at home. Not knowing Tulia’s recipe, I went about experimenting on my own, and I think I have come pretty close.

This spread is creamy and soft, and is best served with warm crusty Italian bread although I am thinking it would be a great spread on a panini as well. Although I have kept my version simple as I was trying to replicate the spread I had tasted at the restaurant, it would also be great with a teaspoon or two of chopped capers stirred in, or even some chopped Kalamata olives. This spread can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2014

Roasted Eggplant & Sun-Dried Tomato Spread

Ingredients:

  • 2 Medium, Firm Eggplants
  • 1 (7 Ounce) Jar Sun-dried Tomatoes In Olive Oil
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Peeled
  • 4 Tablespoons Tomato Paste Mixed With 1 Cup Water
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

Optional:

  • 2 Teaspoons Capers, Drained
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Kalamata Olives

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cut off the stem ends of the eggplants, then cut into 1-inch cubes and place in an oven-proof covered casserole dish.
  3. Place the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, paste and water, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes into a small food processor and pulse until blended.
  4. Dump the tomato mixture over the eggplant cubes and toss to coat well.
  5. Roast the eggplant covered for 20 minutes, then stir well and cook another 20 to 30 minutes or until the eggplant is very soft.
  6. Let the eggplant mixture sit covered until it is room temperature.
  7. Taste, then adjust the seasonings as needed.
  8. Serve with slices of crusty Italian bread.