Continuing on my journey to finding the perfect eggplant, tomato, and pasta recipe (see Catastrophe) I thought I would turn to the experts on this – Rao’s.
So there are difficult restaurants to get into in NYC and then there are impossible. Rao’s falls under the impossible, that is unless you are a “regular” or are lucky enough to know one. They are known for having some of the best simple Italian food, so in my mind they had to have the perfect eggplant and tomato pasta. Bonus – the recipe looked so simple to make.
I had a guest sous-chef in the kitchen last night so prep for dinner was super easy. Chopped onion, diced eggplant, and sliced mushrooms – done.
I heated up the olive oil in a large skillet and added the garlic, whole, to brown and flavor the olive oil. I have never used this technique before but it worked really well, plus you had great roasted garlic to spread on bread after. Yum!
Once the garlic turned a golden color I removed it and added in the onion, mushrooms, and eggplant. As I was stirring all the veggies together I noticed that there seemed like there was a lot of onion in the pan. I checked the recipe and it said half a cup, but it looked like a lot more. So I checked with my guest sous-chef and we realized we forgot to measure the onion that she chopped. Oops!
What to do? Spend the next 12 minutes while the veggies cooked down, sifting out the extra onion.
Hoping we salvaged the sauce, we added some white wine, followed by a can of San Marzano diced tomatoes and let the sauce simmer while the pasta cooked.
Finally the sauce was ready, we added some fresh basil, a pinch of oregano and kept our fingers crossed.
The good news . . . it wasn’t too oniony! The not so good news . . . it still wasn’t THE one. It tasted a little bland to me, like it needed some red pepper flakes. I also have to admit that I was a little surprised by how it turned out, I was imaging more of a sauce and this cooked more like a ratatouille. Either way the plates were cleaned. But my search still continues. Anyone have a great tomato, eggplant pasta recipe out there?