During the summer months, I try to reduce my work hours a bit so I can dedicate some time to the various concerts, events, movies and everything else those warm days are about. This year my teaching hours were quite reduced in the evening (less money, but more personal time) so that gave me the opportunity to go swimming and also to experiment a little more in the kitchen.
So between June and September, Renata and I began a new tradition of sorts, which I like to call ‘pasta Tuesdays.’ It wasn’t like I originally planning to go that way, but things just came together that way and we started calling Tuesday night a time to eat different varieties of noodles and sauces with some conversation or TV and a few glasses of wine.
Over those weeks I tested different recipes, going from pasta carbonara (inspired by an episode of Criminal Minds, a show that has become sort of a mainstay for us since a local TV network runs marathons of various procedural shows during the week), pasta primavera and many other recipes collected over the years but that I had no chance of preparing because they are a bit more elaborate than the everyday dishes I make during the week – and also because I try to go out of the box on our Sundays with more international ideas.
Unfortunately, those weekday dinners are coming to an end soon because my usual long hours are coming back at the college where I teach, leaving only Friday nights free. It has been a great experience, though, and I am really looking forward to those random free nights in the horizon – and incidentally it is not over yet, since I have two more weeks to enjoy some quality time cuddling up with Renata while enjoying some steaming pasta– a great recipe for a lazy weeknight staying in.
Rustic eggplant with pasta
Source: Grandma’s Kitchen
1 medium eggplant, peeled
1 large red bell pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (28-ounce) can diced Italian-style
1/2 cup white or red wine or white
1/2 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon each dried basil and
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 ounces penne or ziti
1. Cut eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes (about 21/2 to 3
cups). Cut bell pepper into strips. Heat 3 tablespoons
olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Sauté
eggplant in hot olive oil until tender and browned.
Remove eggplant to a medium bowl using a slotted
spoon, reserving the pan drippings.
2. Add remaining olive oil to reserved pan drippings.
Heat until hot. Add bell pepper, onion and garlic and
mix well. Sauté until vegetables are tender.
3. Stir the eggplant, undrained tomatoes, wine or white
grape juice, olives, parsley, basil, oregano and salt into
sautéed vegetables. Simmer the mixture, stirring
occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
4. Cook pasta using package directions; drain. Place
pasta in large serving bowl. Spoon eggplant over pasta