Mediterranean Eggplant and Dried Tomatoes Pasta


There are only three more weeks until summer is officially over and I am desperately clinging onto this season's bounty of heirloom tomatoes, fresh herbs, berries and stone fruits.  It is during this time of year when the vibrant flavors of summer explode, the aroma of fresh herbs are more intense, the tomatoes are sweeter, and the variety is so extensive that there never seems to be enough time to explore all the possibilities in each year's harvest.



This brings me to my thoughts on home gardeners. The top thing I miss most about living in suburbia is having my own vegetable garden.  I recall how deeply fulfilling it was to watch my strawberry patches proliferate, tomato plants thrive from the seeds I had carefully saved in the prior year, and the many flowers whose blooms would stretch out so wide I felt like I was receiving a hug every time I looked at them. It may seem odd to dote on plants, but as every avid gardener would agree, they can be very much like your children.


One other aspect that I enjoyed about being a home gardener was the opportunity to work with the Earth, touch it, feel it, smell it, and nurture it. It was also to me a miraculous experience to be able to watch an entire life cycle progress before my eyes.  In many ways gardening is very similar to life with myriad risks and rewards, plants are a reflection of the respect, care and protection you give it. Each year brings new surprises and sometimes devastation, but at the end of all of it, you're wiser for it.


While I am absent a garden today, I continue to save seeds for my friends, celebrate in their successes, commiserate with their challenges, and savor those wonderful summer flavors vicariously during their harvest.


During this time of year, gardeners are likely harvesting tomatoes, eggplants and squash faster than they can give them away. I've created a pasta recipe that integrates these summer vegetables with the warmth of a popular Indian spice blend called garam marsala. If you have never tried this warm spice blend, a recipe is available here.


This recipe requires a bit of idle time as it calls for drying cherry tomatoes in the oven. If you're pressed for time you may use 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes reconstituted in hot water for 15 minutes. Otherwise this is a good method for preserving tomatoes, which can be stored in a jar with olive oil and placed in the refrigerator for a later date. The eggplant in this recipe is semi-dried drawing out its natural liquids to better soak up the flavors of the pasta sauce.



Mediterranean Eggplant and Tomatoes Pasta
Ingredients
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 3-5 fillet anchovies, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garam marsala
  • basil (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
  • salt and pepper
Method
  1. Rinse and dry the cherry tomatoes. Slice each fruit in half and place into a medium-size bowl. Drizzle roughly one tablespoons of olive oil over the tomatoes, and lightly sprinkle salt and pepper, and toss. Spread the tomato halves onto a cookie sheet, cut side up. Bake in the oven at 200 F for three hours on the bottom shelf.
  2. An hour before the tomatoes are done drying in the oven, slice the eggplants horizontally into 1/2-inch rings. Salt each side, and place flat on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet onto the top shelf of the oven with the tomatoes. 
  3. Once the eggplants have been in the oven for roughly 30 minutes, remove them from the oven. Allow them to cool before dicing into 1/2-inch cubes. While you allow the eggplants to cool, dice the shallot finely and mince the garlic. Chop the anchovies coarsely.
  4. In a large saute pan, turn the heat to medium-high, and heat two tablespoons of olive oil until hot. Add the minced shallots and garlic, saute until the garlic is almost golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the anchovies, thyme, garam marsala, and dried tomatoes and continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes. If it gets too dry add another tablespoon of olive oil. When all of the flavors appear to have melded together, taste, and add salt and pepper accordingly. Toss in the diced eggplants and stir for another 2 minutes and turn off the heat. Also, don't be afraid to add more olive oil, the eggplant does a really good job of absorbing extra liquid, so a little extra oil may help.
  5. Serve over cooked pasta with an extra drizzle of olive, top with thinly sliced basil and grated fresh parmesan, if desired. 

74 comments:

Belinda @zomppa said...

Say it ain't so (summer being gone, that is)...though my favorite season is the fall. These colors are fantastic as is the recipe. The flowers are great.

Cathy said...

There's no question that fall has arrived here in the Pacific NW. Your photos are stunning, Christine, and make me want to run out and buy some of everything that is available right now.

Jamie said...

Your photographs are absolutely stunning! Gorgeous! And I love this recipe; I have homemade garam masala, a gift from an Indian friend and this vegetable dish is calling me... Wonderful. And although I adore autumn and winter, I do love summer fruit, berries and tomatoes.

Lori said...

I love that picture of the peaches in a basket. After canning up some Marinated Eggplant this was totally on my mind. Looks stunning.

Stella said...

This eggplant pasta sounds delicious, Christine. I love rustic pastas like this. Plus, you've made me realize I have about three more official weeks of summer. I hadn't really thought about that (smile)...

Gloria said...

This recipe look awesome Christine, and your pictures are absolutely lovely, x gloria

~Lisa~ said...

Beautiful post as always. Your photos are stunning and I love gardens and hope to have one someday. Garam Masala is such a fragrant spice, I recently used it myself. This dish looks light and flavorful (=

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

I have only space for a few things to plant and grow. But you are right, growing your own herbs and vegetables is so satisfying.

I love this dish. It is such a celebration of the season. Looks and sounds beautiful.

♥peachkins♥ said...

cute ladybug..nice photos of the tomatoes...amazing pasta dish!

nancy at good food matters said...

I especially love your photograph of all the pints of cherry tomatoes---beautiful composition of pattern and color!

Drying those tomatoes, as you wisely suggest, is a great way to use your cherry tomato bounty--and preserve a little taste of summer to enjoy in another season.

I hope that you will have a garden again someday.

Victoria K. said...

I love garam masala! What a great idea to use that spice in this dish, especially with the eggplant :) mmmm. And yes, we totally should get dinner when I get to NYC. That would be fun!

vicky @ eat live spin said...

Your pictures are amazing. I love heirloom tomatoes... I am enjoying them as much as possible! I will be sad when the season is over and I have to go back to eating mostly root veggies.

El said...

I'm sorry you had to say goodbye to your garden. Thankfully, you have plenty of farmers markets around. I too a hanging on to every last bit of summer. This dish looks like a great way to celebrate the ongoing harvest.

TKW said...

I like the addition of garam masala to the dish--I bet it adds a nice hit of flavor.

Pierce said...

That is such a cool photo of the tomatoes! Loved the eggplant, very much, but just had to comment on that photo.

cocinadiary said...

Beautiful photos of the veggies. Your recipe is definitely going in my recipe box. I am always looking for good pasta recipes.

kat said...

Oh this sounds fantastic, if only I could get Matt to like eggplant.

Lazaro Cooks! said...

Beautiful photos of a fantastic course.

Eddie @ Culinary Studio said...

I found myself grabbing at my computer screen for those tomatoes. Gorgeous!

Sara said...

Now I wish I would have grown eggplant this year! Our little garden had a hard time. I heard a lot of people in the area say the same thing. It was a really wet and really hot summer. Our tomatoes are doing well, but we're not getting as many as we hoped for. And our zucchini just completely died. No clue what happened there. The pepper are finally starting to sprout, but we're not holding our breath on those. The basil is great though. We learned a lot and will do better next year!

Chiara said...

This recipe look fabolous Christine!A pasta italian style!I have garam masala ,I'll try it very soon, kisses...

Cooking Gallery said...

Beautiful pictures as always and the pasta looks absolutely droolworthy!

Catherine said...

Beautiful presentation of the pasta Christine, it sounds delish!
Everything looks wonderful!
Cheers~

Megan said...

This recipe sounds delicious. I'm clinging to those last summer toamtoes and other veggies and herbs too.

I want a garden someday... when I have a yard. I'm already thinking that I'm going to have to find some books about gardening because I can't even keep an indoor plant alive.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

With a meal like this who would want summer to end? Not me. Hope you have a nice holiday weekend.
Sam

Emily said...

I hope to have my own garden someday, too. I have experienced my parents' pride and excitement over eating home grown produce, and I hope to do the same...hopefully by then I will learn to properly care for plants. :-)

Simply Life said...

Oh what a great dish! I love all your photos!

Elizabeth in SLO said...

I've never developed a green thumb, but when I lived in Los Osos the sandy soil lent itself to growing all kinds of herbs easily and effortlessly. I had over 30 kinds of herbs growing and miss my wonderful soups, sauces, and fresh teas. Those were the days!

Gera @ Sweets Foods Blog said...

You know that you’ve wonderful photography. The Mediterranean pasta is like your pics, absolutely fantastic :)

Cheers,

Gera

Claudia said...

Serendipity. I have it all - including the Garam Masala. Time to cook.

Asha @ FSK said...

Woohoo!! You used garam masala!!! I am super thrilled :)))

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

These photos are gorgeous! Happy September!

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

These photos are gorgeous! Happy September!

Fun and Fearless in Beantown said...

These photos are gorgeous! Happy September!

Angie's Recipes said...

Beautiful photos, as always! I cooked some pasta too, but I like yours more...it looks so much more flavourful!

Anncoo said...

I love all the pictures here especially the peaches in the basket. Would like to try your delicious pasta :)

Barbara said...

I love tomatoes dried in the oven that way, Christine. The flavor becomes so intense. We love serving them simply with fresh mozzarella, basil and balsamic vinegar.
Making a pasta dish with them is a super idea and with my favorite veggie..eggplant.. too! Can't wait to try this recipe.

bellini valli said...

I can't wait to rush out to the farmers market...wait... I have to wait till tomorrow:D I miss my gardens after moving to the condo but appreciate all the free time to travel.

Ingrid De Villiers said...

Wow, what lovely photographs and beautiful post! I will definitely try this pasta recipe and love garam marsala...I use it all the time and it is healthy too!
Enjoy your week-end!
I :)

Bridgett said...

Wow, this pasta looks delicious and your photos are fabulous as usual.

Cristie said...

Your pictures are so beautiful, and I'm with you-- couldn't we hold on to summer for a few extra weeks? Your recipe sounds wonderful and I'm facinated with the spice.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I'm hanging on to these last few days of summer with all my might also! One of my favorite things right now is to make fresh tomato sauce with my garden tomatoes. You are so nice to save seeds for your gardening friends. The tomatoes in your photo are so pretty!

This looks like a delicious recipe to savor those late summer veggies.

Joanne said...

Those photos of all things fresh and good from the garden are sensational.
The pasta dish is perfect and the addition of Garam Masala most interest.

Cailin @ Stir Crazy said...

That first paragraph really sums it up... I'm going to miss the farmers' markets. Beautiful photos, and a delicious looking dish!

Pam said...

Oh my goodness, these pictures are gorgeous!

5 Star Foodie said...

Gorgeous pictures! And the pasta sounds delicious, I love the addition of garam marsala!

Heavenly Housewife said...

Wonderful pics! Yeah, I cant believe summer is coming to an end (it hardly even started here in the UK LOL). Lovely pasta, I love eggplant with pasta, there is something quite meaty and satisfying about it even though its vegetarian.
Have a fantastic weekend!
*kisses* HH

Paula said...

I am super impressed with your picture of the eggplant pasta. I have tried several times to photograph eggplant dishes but have yet to publish any of them. Very difficult task.

Debinhawaii said...

Your pictures are always so beautiful and the pasta looks delicious--some of my favorite ingredients.
;-)

♥¸¸.•*¨Skip to Malou¨¨*•.¸¸♥¸ said...

Your pictures are stunning... oh did I say they are stunning? haha.. and just like everybody is saying they are absolutely stunning!
I haven't tried eggplant with pasta yet but I supposed with the texture and color, it kinda tricks the mind to believe that there's meat on your plate? hmmm love it already!

Joanne said...

what gorgeous farmer's market pictures! I was at the Union Square one today and absolutely reveled in how pretty everything was.

I love the idea of adding garam masala to pasta sauce...total fusion food...and totally delicious!

Mary said...

What a lovely recipe. Fall has definitely arrived here the PNW. Mornings are crisp and cool and it takes longer for the days to warm. Your gorgeous pasta would be perfect for a September meal. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

alison said...

please collect the awards on my blog,they are for all my foodie friends!

Trix said...

I know! I don't want the summer produce to go away either! In fact I am drying peppers in the oven as I write this ... this is an excellent use of tomatoes, I will try this as I have a ton of them right now (from the farmers market, not grown by me). The garam masala is a neat touch.

Lori said...

What a way to celebrate summer goodies! I love the addition of the garam masala here. It sounds so great!

I am really looking forward to fall, but I will also really miss the heirloom tomatoes and stone fruits of summer as well.

Maria @ ScandiFoodie said...

Such beautiful fresh produce! I'm always looking for new eggplant recipes, so I'll definitely bookmark this and give it a go!

Sweet and Savory said...

What lovely photos and a great recipe. Would you like to link it to My Meatless Mondays.
http://sweetsav.blogspot.com/2010/09/meatless-mondays-september-7-2010.html

I am always looking for good recipes.

lostpastremembered said...

My favorite season is end of summer to fall when all the bounty of the garden is with us. Photos are really an homage to that bounty... wonderful recipe and photos!

tasteofbeirut said...

I am actually enjoying this summer now, when it is a bit cooler and more tolerable to walk outside; lovely photos and delightful pasta dish. Very much what I crave summer or not!

OysterCulture said...

This is my kinda pasta. Its got all the wonder flavors of summer right there.

I'm with you in regards to gardens - although I have to say that my apartment gardens are a bit of a dicy situation - I can never get my plants to last too long.

The photos that you took are amazing. Love the lady bug.

Foodessa said...

Christine...although the garam marsala was a very twisty surprise...I could only imagine how it enhanced this wonderful dish of yours.

BTW...you and your camera are doing wonderful captures together ;o)

Ciao for now,
Claudia

Dee said...

Fabulous looking eggplant dish! Wow, I love these ingredients. I know now what I will make for dinner tomorrow when the mister returns to town. Yummy! Great food photos & as always a pleasure to visit your blog. Have a marvelous day!

Mari @ Once Upon a Plate said...

Yum, fabulous combination of flavors!

You've touched my heart with your description of the joys of gardening-- absolutely spot on.

Christine, dear--- Umm, you have definitely MASTERED your new camera. Your photos are positively stunning. Perfection! xo

Tasty Eats At Home said...

Wow, your photos! Gorgeous. And this dish? A lovely way to celebrate the full flavors of summer's end.

Magic of Spice said...

Love these photos...and the pasta dish is gorgeous :)

Kitchen Bee said...

Oh i'll miss summer....and heirloom tomatoes too! Love the use of garam masala

Liz said...

What a delightful recipe. I will have to try this soon!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I can't resist a good pasta dish. In the past, I've felt my eggplant has always been a bit chewy, and I've been experimenting more with roasting, to try and get that melt in your mouth feel. This is really a wonderful combination of flavors.

Velva said...

I am just "oooohing-and ahhing over these photos. The pasta dish is beautiful too.

I have fantasies about having a bountiful garden (sigh).

Chef E said...

Ummm, some of my favorite comfort food, and you make it look so gourmet!

Monet said...

So glad I stumbled upon your beautiful blog. Not only do you tempt me with a lovely eggplant dish, but you bring me such wonderful photos of the summer's bounty! Thank you so much for sharing with us!

Catherine said...

Wow this dish looks absolutely mouthwatering!
Absolutely beautiful photo work dear!
Cheers~

Otehlia said...

Yum! Looks delish. Perfect for that eggplant that's sitting lonely in my fridge!

Sandra said...

Amazing photos, recipe and the presentation!
You have great blog!