Sunday, August 2, 2009

Eggplants in Tomato Sauce (Melanzane a fungetiello)

Eggplants in Tomato SauceIt was a cozy neighborhood restaurant in my parents’ hometown where I first tasted eggplants in tomato sauce (Melanzane a fungetiello). I found out very recently that this restaurant is one of the first Italian restaurants in whole Japan, if not the very first one. Mr. Abela from Sicily, Italy, found the restaurant in 1946 and since then “Amore Abela” (as the restaurant is called) has been successfully run by the Abela family.

At this historical restaurant, I had very delicious spaghetti with eggplants in tomato sauce for the first time. It was more than two decades ago but I still clearly recall the little surprise I felt about the combination of eggplants and tomato sauce. Our family had never thought that they could turn out so well with each other on top of pasta. After that, pasta with eggplants in tomato sauce became one of our family’s favorite dishes.

When I recently found small eggplants in the local farmers’ market, I immediately recalled my favorite dish, pasta with eggplants in tomato sauce, and decided to cook this dish. I added fresh mozzarella cheese to enhance the tasty flavor of eggplants, tomato sauce and basil leaves. You should try it too. Buon appetito!

Ingredients (4-5 servings):
7-10 small eggplants
1 finely chopped onion
3 cloves of garlic
3 cups of finely chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
½ cup of fresh basil leaves
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1 lb linguine

1. Wash the eggplants and slice them. Place them in a large bowl and add water to cover the sliced eggplants. Add a pinch of salt. Leave them for about 15 to 30 minutes.
2. Heat 3-4 tbsp of olive oil in a large fry pan. Place the eggplants, finely chopped onion and garlic in the pan and fry them well until the eggplants become soft and onion becomes transparent.
3. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Simmer them for 15 to 20 minutes.
4. Slice the mozzarella cheese. Chop the basil leaves.
5. Add the mozzarella cheese and chopped basil on the top of the sauce and turn off the heat. Cover the pan and leave it for 5 to 10 minutes until the sliced mozzarella cheese melts.
6. Boil water in a large pot and cook the linguine in the pot for 8 to 10 minutes or al dente. Drain the linguine well. Toss them with 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
7. Transfer the serving plates and pour the sauce. Serve with pieces of crispy bread! Buon appetito!

1 comment:

  1. Your post is so yummy! I really wanted to try that oneand I can make it perfect just like yours. Keep posting!