Spicy Eggplant Pasta Bake… and a bit of Housekeeping!

Oh boy… it has been a while, hasn’t it?   You know you’ve let your blogging-self go when you log back in and find that your blog needs all these updates for security, looks and what not.  

Spicy Eggplant Caponata Pasta Bake - Great Food 360


Double authentication settings? Check.  Shiny new WordPress plugins? Check. A whole new Cook the Book Fridays adventure?  Ohmygod, yes. I mean, check. 

But before I let you in on the new project, it seemed fitting to share just a bit of what has been going on around these parts.  For one, work. Lots of it, sometimes even on overwhelming amounts. Some of you may think that hasn’t changed much! I’m happy it is meaningful work, and that I’m surrounded by super smart people that make me want to do my best every day.

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Running is still one of my favorite things to do.  I’ve managed to log in enough miles since I last blogged to circle Puerto Rico almost six times.  Taking on a sport in my 30s gave me confidence that I can do anything with hard work, discipline, and the right support system.  Running has also made me HUNGRY for more delicious food.

If you follow @greatfood360, you’ll see that while the blogging paused, the search for those great bites – both in and out of the house – hasn’t stopped.  After Hurricane Maria, many food businesses had to close down. However, new ventures have popped up, each with more interesting, well thought finds to satisfy the most demanding palates.  New bakeries, ice cream parlors and other craft food producers are serving treats that can compete with the world’s best.  New produce delivery services are making restaurant quality local fruits and vegetables more accessible to everyone. It’s an exciting time to eat and cook your way around Puerto Rico.

Ponica Farms Puerto Rico GreatFood360

Ponica Farms delivered all these gorgeous greens and eggplant to my office.


Inspired by local produce and a lower carb pasta find, I made this baked casserole that includes local eggplant, green onions and a showerful of arugula.  The sauce is spicy like an arrabiata, but the cheese and breadcrumbs mellow it out. The teaspoon of anchovy paste can be omitted for a vegetarian version.  

Eggplant Pasta Bake
Spicy Eggplant Pasta Bake
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Loosely inspired by Sicilian eggplant caponata, this casserole combines eggplant, onions, tomatoes and other vegetables. The pasta to sauce ratio can be adapted to your liking. It's such a hearty sauce that it doesn't need that much pasta. The chickpea rotini I used does not puff like wheat pastas, so keep that in mind when selecting a noodle shape or base.
Servings Prep Time
4generous servings 20minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30minutes 20minutes
Servings Prep Time
4generous servings 20minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30minutes 20minutes
Eggplant Pasta Bake
Spicy Eggplant Pasta Bake
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Loosely inspired by Sicilian eggplant caponata, this casserole combines eggplant, onions, tomatoes and other vegetables. The pasta to sauce ratio can be adapted to your liking. It's such a hearty sauce that it doesn't need that much pasta. The chickpea rotini I used does not puff like wheat pastas, so keep that in mind when selecting a noodle shape or base.
Servings Prep Time
4generous servings 20minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30minutes 20minutes
Servings Prep Time
4generous servings 20minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
30minutes 20minutes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, bring two quarts of heavily salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta one minute under the suggested time. Drain the pasta and set aside. Reserve about half a cup of pasta water.
  2. Heat the olive oil on a large sauté pan over medium heat. Cook the onion, celery and carrot until softened. Stir in the anchovy paste, red pepper flakes, basil and oregano.
  3. Toss the eggplant cubes into the sauté pan and stir them together with the remaining vegetables. Season the vegetables with salt and extra pepper and let them cook until the eggplant looks cooked on all sides and it has released some of its liquid, about 5 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  5. Add the tomato paste, canned tomatoes and stir together. If the mixture looks too lumpy or dry, add a tablespoon or two of pasta water to loosen it up. Taste and season the sauce with extra salt, pepper or a little sugar if it feels too acidic. Let it simmer for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce, stopping when you have the desired pasta to vegetables ratio.
  7. Spoon half of the pasta mixture into a baking dish. Sprinkle half of the cheese on top. Add the remaining pasta, cheese, and top with breadcrumbs. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the breadcrumbs brown.
  8. Top the casserole with the arugula ribbons and serve.

So the cobwebs have been dusted off.  We’re ready to COOK!  If you have any recipes or ideas, suggestions on extra veggies to toss into the eggplant pasta bake, or just want to say hi, hit up the comment sections or drop by the GF360˚ Instagram and Facebook pages.

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Author:Adriana

Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

One Response to “Spicy Eggplant Pasta Bake… and a bit of Housekeeping!”

  1. October 26, 2018 at 5:10 pm #

    Hi! I saw this fly by last week and just now reading. Glad to know you are well.

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