It has been such a busy week, trying to plan summer vacations, baseball with my grandson and trying to get over my Springtime cough. I am rather pooped and it’s only Monday, which makes it the perfect day for making an easy meal, that is both comforting and full of vegetables. Eggplant is a nice choice because it adds a heartiness to any dish, without it feeling too heavy and it has an umami or meaty flavor that is hard to beat, especially if you are cutting back on rich proteins.
Chinese Eggplant, a smaller variety, is less bitter and cooks up in minutes and tastes superb when added to quinoa, sauteed vegetables or pasta. I prefer to roast eggplant because you don’t need to add too much oil and it adds a slightly charred flavor. You can always tell when eggplant is done roasting because of the rich earthy smell that penetrates the kitchen — just delightful.
In this recipe for Roasted Eggplant Carbonara, I cook a sliced eggplant and a jalapeno pepper on a sheet pan and then, toss it with hot pasta and fresh eggs. This dish can’t be more simple to make, it is a great way to start the week.
1 pound dried spaghetti
2 Chinese eggplants, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 jalapeno pepper
3 extra large eggs, or 4 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese + more for topping
5 fresh Oregano sprigs – leaves removed, divided
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the sliced eggplant and jalapeno on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool. Remove the seeds and stem from jalapeno and rough chop, set aside.
2. Slice shallot and set aside. Boil the pasta for 10 minutes, drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
3. In the same pot as you boiled the pasta, add 2 teaspoons olive oil and shallot. Saute for 1 minute and add the roasted eggplant and diced jalapeno. Cook for 1 minute.
4. Whisk the eggs in a bowl and add 1/4 cup of pasta water, whisk until smooth. This prevents the eggs from curdling, when added to the hot pasta. Add the cooked pasta to the eggplant mixture and toss. Drizzle in the warmed eggs and continue to toss.
5. Add in the Parmesan cheese, 4 sprigs of oregano leaves and red pepper flakes, toss again.
6. Place pasta in a bowl and top with additional oregano. Serve Roasted Eggplant Carbonara with Parmesan cheese.