Sicilian Eggplant & Almond Pasta


We are presently sheltering at home, and we just heard last evening that this will last at least another thirty days. I can tell by my blog stats over the past couple of weeks that a lot of people who normally didn’t have time to cook are searching for recipes to make. I have many people tell me that they cannot cook, or do not have time to cook during the week when everyone in the family is very busy. I am very sympathetic to this and realize that it may seem so much easier to pick up fast food or some other type of prepared meal on the way home than it is to prepare a meal from scratch at home, but that isn’t always the case. There are many delicious, make from scratch meals that can be prepared from start to finish in under thirty minutes, including a myriad of different pasta dishes. My husband loves pasta and could eat it every night, so we do eat a lot of pasta in my house. Many of those meals, however, are quick and easy pasta favorites that we pull together quickly and serve with a nice crisp salad and a loaf of crusty bread.

We have a lot of favorite pasta dishes, but I am always looking for new ones to test out. We enjoy Pasta Trapanese, a Sicilian pasta dish that involves a sauce made from tomatoes and almonds. This recipe is similar, as it is made with tomatoes and almonds, but also includes roasted eggplant, which gives the sauce an almost meaty texture. This sauce is packed full of flavor as it contains minced garlic and lots of fresh basil. As is common in many Southern Italian pasta dishes, golden brown breadcrumbs are sprinkled on the pasta just before serving. This pasta sauce is great on just about any variety of pasta shapes, including long dried pasta such as spaghetti or short pasta like rigatoni or penne, so it will work on any type of pasta in your pantry. I like cheese on my pasta, so I added some grated Pecorino Romano on top of the pasta just before serving, but that is just my personal preference.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2020

Sicilian Eggplant & Almond Pasta

Sicilian Eggplant & Almond Pasta

Yield: Serves 4-6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

A unique pasta recipes from Sicily that includes both almonds and eggplant.

Ingredients

  • 1 Small Firm Eggplant
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil, Divided
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1 (15 Ounce) Can Whole Tomatoes, Crushed
  • 3/4 Cup Lightly Toasted Blanched Almonds, Finely Chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves, Chopped
  • Coarsely Ground Black Pepper
  • Salt To Taste
  • 1 Pound Pasta of Choice (See Notes Above)

To Serve:

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Coarse Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Garlic Clove, Minced
  • Grated Pecorino Romano Cheese (Optional)

Instructions

    1. Preheat oven broiler to high heat.
    2. Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch slices and place on a foil lined baking sheet brushed with olive oil.
    3. Broil the eggplant slices, turning over halfway until both sides are golden brown.
    4. Set aside to cool, then chop.
    5. In a small skillet heat the olive oil for the topping over medium heat.
    6. Add the breadcrumbs and garlic, and cook, continually stirring until golden brown.
    7. Set aside until needed.
    8. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
    9. In a skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until lightly smoking then add the garlic and cook 30 seconds until fragrant.
    10. Add the tomatoes, remaining olive oil, almonds, and basil leaves and cook 5 to 7 minutes.
    11. Taste sauce and season with salt and pepper, and keep warm.
    12. Cook the pasta until it is al dente, then drain, reserving a small cup of pasta water.
    13. Return the pasta to the pot and add the eggplant and tomato/almond sauce.
    14. Cook over medium heat, tossing the pasta continually to coat in the sauce.
    15. If needed, add a little of the pasta water to loosen the sauce.
    16. Serve the pasta in individual bowls topped with the prepared breadcrumbs.
    17. Pass the grated Pecorino cheese at the table for those who want it.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 464Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 348mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 7gSugar: 5gProtein: 13g