Coming soon, I promise!! I’ll post the recipe for this fantastic pasta dish I made last night. It was so delicious! It’s fettuccine with garlic, roasted eggplant, sauteed broccoli rabe, fresh plum tomatoes, sausages, and pecorino Romano cheese. We both had seconds. Yikes!
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For some time now my husband has had this persistent cough, that mainly occurs after he eats a meal. Finally, he went to the doctor and he suggested going on this acid-free diet. There are details to the diet but we must be very strict for 2 weeks and the main things are: no garlic, onions, tomatoes, or spicy or regular peppers and of course no fruit, except for bananas, pears and some apples.
Well telling me no garlic, onions, tomatoes or peppers is like well, I don’t know what!! I’d say the only dish I cook without garlic would be duck breasts with a fruit sauce!!!
So we started this diet on Monday and I’ve been reacquainting myself with Herbs de Provence. I used it to roast a chicken last night and on some tilapia fillets tonight. Tomorrow I’m making striped bass fillets and if any of you have any suggestions, please pour it on. He also should have limited olive oil and butter, only skinless chicken or fish, no meat or fried foods.
Let’s bridge Greece and Italy – or let’s just use up things in my refrigerator that need using! This is fantastic and could be used as a great first course or a main meatless meal.
BUCATINI WITH EGGPLANT, FRESH TOMATOES, SPINACH AND FETA
Serves 4 as a main course or 6 as a first course
1/4 cup olive oil
5 large garlic cloves – peeled and thinly sliced on a mandoline
1 medium eggplant, cut in quarters lengthwise and then sliced 1/4” thick
1.5 lbs. fresh plum tomatoes – about 7, cored and cut into quarters lengthwise and then sliced into 1/4” slices
1/2 bunch or 4 oz. fresh tender spinach leaves, (or baby spinach) stems removed, washed and air-dried
2 oz. Greek feta cheese, cut in 1/4 cubes
1 lb. dried bucatini No 6 pasta or spaghetti or fettucini
Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated
Chiffonade of basil to garnish
Prepare the eggplant and salt layers of it in a mesh colander to draw out and drain the bitterness. Use fine sea salt. Let sit while you prepare everything else, the longer the better, but do this for at least 20 minutes.
Prepare the tomatoes and place in a separate large bowl and salt it as well with sea salt, toss with a spatula and let sit. This will intensify the tomato flavor.
Warm the olive oil and sauté the sliced garlic on very low heat for 10 – 15 minutes. Do not let it brown.
Start a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
Cut cheese and slice the basil leaves.
Take paper towels and squeeze and dry the eggplant and add to the skillet with the garlic and olive oil. Raise heat to medium and sauté until the eggplant is fork
tender. When the skillet becomes dry, drain the tomatoes in the same mesh colander and add their juices to the skillet.
Cook the pasta al dente and drain, saving some pasta water, just in case you need a little moisture.
In a large bowl you used for the tomatoes, layer 1/3 pasta, 1/3 fresh tomatoes, 1/3 eggplant mixture, 1/3 spinach, feta cheese and grate some pecorino on each layer. Continue until all is used up, pour in any extra tomato juice and toss and combine. The heat from the pasta and eggplant will warm the tomatoes, wilt the spinach and melt the feta. Garnish with more pecorino and the chiffonade of basil.
I hope you LOVE it!
Finished dish before basil garnish
I have been oven-roasting cauliflower with olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin for some time now and it is delicious. But sometimes you need a change. So I am always on the lookout for quick cooking, delicious vegetables to get on the table fast for a weeknight meal. I look at weeknight meals as it’s okay to spend a little time on the main dish but then the vegetable and carbohydrate should be simple and easy. Like rice in a rice cooker while oven roasting asparagus with olive oil and finishing with lemon juice and lemon zest, plus a little more olive oil. So this week, I had a prospective client dinner meeting on Wednesday and my husband cooked for himself and Zach. I had asked him to please use up the plum tomatoes as they were getting too ripe. He forgot. So I’m looking at these soon overripe tomatoes as I’m preparing my cauliflower and say why not? It was great, adding an additional flavor along with some juiciness and color – so important!
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH CUMIN & TOMATOES
1 head of cauliflower
2 – 3 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. ground cumin
3 plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise, then cut into 4 or 5 chunks.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Wash, dry and separate or cut flowerets of the cauliflower to be approximately the same uniform size. Pile in the middle of a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle on 2 – 3 tbs. olive oil, sprinkle with salt, fresh pepper and cumin. Pile on chopped tomatoes and toss the whole thing well with a spatula/flipper/pancake turner.
Roast on a top shelf for 20 minutes or more until cauliflower is fork tender. Toss again when testing.