Thursday, September 15, 2011

Home made pasta sauce with eggplant & vegan Parmesan cheez

This version of tomato sauce with eggplant is called 'a la Norma' here in Sicily.. 
I guess a lady named Norma came up with it?
Well, either way it's delicious and with my version, using the Quinoa 'pasta' as well! ;)

I found this recipe online somewhere on someone's blog even, I think.. I can't remember (sometimes I just copy and paste recipes from different sites into word documents like a madwoman *lol*.) 
It's certainly the best recipe I've come across so far for home made tomato sauce as well as for 'handling' the eggplant!

Tomato sauce with eggplant

1 large eggplant or 2 medium, peeled if desired (I do because I find the peel slightly bitter), cut in half lengthwise, then sliced about 1/2 thick

Salt to taste
2-3 Tbs EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 large onion, minced
2 (- 4) garlic cloves, minced (I only had the jar type and used 2 tsp)
1 (28 oz) can of chopped tomatoes
2 Tbsp tomato paste
Pinch of sugar
Italian seasoning to taste, basil, parsley 

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line baking sheet with aluminium foil, brush the foil with some oil and place the eggplant slices on it.
Sprinkle with salt and brush slightly with the oil and place in the oven for ~15 minutes or until browned.
Remove from the heat and carefully fold the foil over in half over the eggplant. (I had to 'mush' each eggplant stripe a bit towards the center. It all gets 'mushed' in the sauce in the end anyway, so no worries! ;) )
Crimp the edges of the foil so that the eggplant is sealed inside the foil and put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes or more. That way the steam continues to soften the eggplant perfectly.

2. Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook until tender, ~5 minutes. Add the garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring until the mix is fragrant, ~ 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, Italian spices/herbs, salt & pepper.
Bring to a simmer and simmer uncovered for 20-30 minutes until the sauce has thickened, stirring often! (I'm sure the longer you cook this sauce, the better it'll actually taste. I know, the Italians here cook their home made sauce for hours! I just had no time for that since my family members were claiming to be  'starving already'! :p ) 

3. Last step, add the eggplant (I've cut mine a bit into bite sized pieces) to the sauce. You'd also add it as soon as it's done baking but I'm not sure how it would turn out for the eggplant since it is already pretty soft coming out of the oven...

Voila, the perfect tomato sauce with eggplant! :D
Top it on pasta, rice, quinoa (or quinoa 'pasta' *g*), sprinkle a few beans on if you like for a bit more protein, maybe a few shakes of nutritional yeast (if you can handle MSG) or vegan Parmesan [recipe below] and you're good to go!

Buon Appetito! ^_^

Vegan Parmesan 'cheez' 
credit goes to Bryanna Clark Grogen

* 1 part ground almonds
* 1 part nutritional yeast
* dashes of salt, onion powder and garlic powder
Combine ingredients in container with lid and shake well.

Edit: I used the leftover sauce for my veggie pizza, topped with a few drizzles of nutritional yeast 'cheez' 

All for me!!! *ggg*

Whole wheat dough, spinach, tomato sauce w/eggplant..
Super yummy!

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