Creamy Eggplant Sauce for Pasta
By Nick Schneider
- 1 large eggplant, globe variety are best for this
- 1 small onion sliced thin
- 3 Tablespoon crème fraiche or heavy whipping cream
- 2 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- zest of half a lemon
- juice of half a lemon
- salt to taste
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- ½ lb. dried pasta
Preheat the oven to 400℉. Slice the eggplant in half the long way. Place on parchment lined sheet tray. Bake until very soft, approximately 25-30 min. While eggplant is cooking, start the onions.
Caramelize the onion in half the olive oil. To speed the process, use a lid to first sweat the onions and then remove the lid with med-lower heat to start caramelizing. Stir often with a wooden spoon. This will take about 10-15 min. Remove the onion. Add the other tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the garlic until lightly golden. Quickly add in the cooked onions and turn off the heat.
Prepare the chopped herbs and citrus. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, scrape out the flesh into a blender or food processor. Add the crème fraiche, citrus, onions/garlic and salt and pepper. Puree until smooth and sauce-like.
Hold aside until the pasta is done. Boil pasta in salted water (1 Tbsp per quart of water) until al dente. Immediately toss the drained pasta with the eggplant sauce, toss in fresh herbs and top with freshly grated ricotta salata or parmigiano reggiano.
if sauce needs thinning, use either the hot pasta water, or some chicken stock.
Ricotta Salata – a much drier, saltier version of ricotta. Popular in Sicily and appropriate for this dish because eggplant is featured more in southern Italian cooking.