Some eggplant notes:
I did some reading about eggplant’s toxicity due to solanine. Most sites indicate that you just don’t want to eat it raw, and that cooking will diminish or neutralize the toxins. Some sites make it sound like you have to peel them, state that the younger ones are more toxic, and that even cooking doesn’t neutralize the solanine. Other sites indicate that solanine isn’t even be present in a ripe eggplant. Okay – my conclusions are, I’ve never peeled the large purple ones, and never had any problems eating them cooked, and have eaten them all my life. So cooked eggplant it is. Since I’m not that familiar with the smaller ones, I decided to peel those, and went ahead and peeled the purple ones so the pieces would cook evenly. But I don’t plan to peel the large purple ones in the future.
Cracked Pepper Fettucine with Smoky Eggplant and Tomato Sauce
6 oz Pappardelle’s cracked pepper fettuccine
1 lb eggplant, peeled and chopped into small pieces
2+1/2 tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 Tbsp chives, finely chopped
1 tsp hot smoked Spanish paprika
3 tsp smoked olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Toss the eggplant with 2 tsp of the olive oil. Cook the eggplant, stirring frequently. If the eggplant is browning too much and the pan starts to get a little charring on the bottom, add 1-2 Tbsp of vegetable broth. Keep cooking until the eggplant is tender. My pieces cooked at slightly different rates, since I used different types and shapes of eggplant – just remove them as they are done, around 6-12 minutes. Set aside the eggplant. Start boiling the water for the pasta, and put it in once it is boiling.
Meanwhile, add the remaining tsp of olive oil to the pan, let it heat up, and then sauté the garlic and onions for about a minute. Add the chives, and continue to sauté for 30-60 seconds more. Add the tomatoes, paprika, sugar, and salt. Turn the heat down to medium low, and cook until the tomatoes break down and form a rough sauce. Add the eggplant, and cook until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce is done before the pasta, just turn it down to low. Mix the pasta into the sauce before serving.