Little Ribbons with Eggplant, Tomato and Blue Cheese
1/2 large eggplant, cut into 3/4? cubes
2 T olive oil
1/4 medium to large red onion, sliced thinly
1 medium clove garlic, minced
A handful of fresh basil, sliced into thin strips [chiffonade]
1/4 to 1/3 lb fettuccine pasta [depending on your appetite]
2 T sherry vinegar [I used a one:one combo of sherry cooking wine and red wine vinegar]
1 large roma tomato, diced
1/2 c tomato sauce
2-3 large button mushrooms, washed and diced
Hot chilli pepper flakes, to taste [I used about 3/4 t for a good kick]
1 T minced fresh parsley
About 4 oz blue cheese, cut into small cubes
A generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, 1 to 1 1/2 T
Salt, if necessary
Preheat oven to 400 F. Spread eggplant in a single layer on a small sheet pan and toss with 1 T olive oil. Roast in oven for 20 minutes, or until eggplant is brown and tender.
As the eggplant cooks, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Generously salt the water and add fettuccine; cook according to package directions, or until al dente.
Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan and cook onions in the remaining 1 T olive oil until just caramelized. Add garlic, cook for a moment or two more, and deglaze pan with sherry vinegar. Add the roasted eggplant, tomato and tomato sauce, mushrooms, pepper flakes and the basil. Heat sauce to simmering.
Using a pair of tongs, transfer cooked fettuccine directly into sauce and toss gently; reserve the pasta water. Add the parsley, blue cheese and extra virgin olive oil, tossing again to combine. If the sauce is a little dry or not coating the pasta as much as you'd like, add 2-4T pasta water and allow to cook a minute or two; the cheese should melt down and mix with the existing liquid and starchy pasta water to create a luxurious sauce. Check for seasoning, adjust as necessary. Serve hot with extra basil or blue cheese crumbles to top.
Thanks Heather, and good luck! Readers, give Heather a thumbs up if you like this recipe!