It was bound to happen sooner or later.  I guess in this case sooner.

The hubby is working late tonight so I decided to spare you all from the pathetic dinner I threw together for myself using leftovers in the fridge/freezer.  Instead I thought I would recap last Thursday’s catastrophe.

Growing up in Northern New Jersey I had access to amazing Italian food and pizza.  Two of my most favorite dishes were Penne A La Norma at Ciao Bella (which no longer exists) and Baked Ziti Siciliana from TPR (but they changed owners and its just not the same).  The basic theme – eggplant, red sauce, pasta, and cheese.  So when I came across the recipe in my new pasta cookbook for Spaghettini alla Bellini – eggplant, red sauce, pasta and cheese I had to try it.

I followed the recipe meticulously.  I cut the eggplant into fans, salted them and let them sit for an hour.

I sautéed the garlic, added the hand crushed tomatoes, basil, and pepper and watched the sauce thicken.

I substituted penne for spaghettini trying to recreate dishes from my childhood.  Then it came time to fry the eggplant.  I preheated the pan, added the olive oil filling up the pan 3/8 full just like the directions said, and waited for the oil to get hot but not smoke before adding the eggplant.  Then I waited for them to crisp up and turn golden . . . it never happened.  They spent the next 10 minutes soaking in olive oil, drinking it up, and turn into soggy messes.

I tried to blot them on paper towels before serving them, but there was only so much oil those paper towels could absorb.  So I did what all the chefs on Top Chef do when they have a disaster on their hands – plate it beautifully and hope it tastes much better than it looks.

Well I didn’t ruin the pasta or the red sauce.  The eggplant, on the other hand, let’s just say its not my best work.  It was soggy, oily, and just blah.  I have no idea what I could have done or changed to get them to crisp so I am going to put up the white flag on this recipe for now.  Suggestions anyone?


One thought on “Catastrophe

  1. Pingback: Penne with Tomato and Eggplant Sauce « What I Made For Dinner

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