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eggplant pasta

phelana Mar 20, 2011 04:09 PM

I want to make a pasta dish with eggplant but don't want it too oily....why salt the eggplant? I see this in some recipes but don't love salt...

Any great recipes easy and light...

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    escondido123 RE: phelana Mar 20, 2011 04:29 PM

    Really no need to. Some say it takes the bitterness out, but I've never really bought that.

    1 Reply
    1. re: escondido123
      goodhealthgourmet RE: escondido123 Mar 21, 2011 09:19 PM

      yeah, it's not usually all that necessary re: bitterness, but it does improve the texture by drawing out all that excess moisture. no point in bothering if you're roasting it for something like baba ghannouj, but i do it when i want firm slices or cubes for grilling, baking or sauteing.

    2. greygarious RE: phelana Mar 20, 2011 04:49 PM

      This CHOW recipe is a good one. I use a mandoline to cut the eggplant into LONG julienne, and the peppers and onions into the thinnest possible rings. When it all cooks down, everything is in long strands, which makes it have a hearty mouth feel. I start it by searing diced pancetta - just an ounce per quart of sauce. It has so much flavor that the sauce tastes meaty. If I have dried mushrooms, I cook those into the sauce as well.

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        magiesmom RE: phelana Mar 20, 2011 06:17 PM

        I love baba ganouj on pasta.

        1. mcf RE: phelana Mar 20, 2011 06:22 PM


          I make the noodles as thin as possible, cook them longer than the recipe calls for and I add a lot more pepper flakes and basil because it's a bit bland, but it's a great basic technique and recipe.
          I salt it to get a firmer, more dry dish, but I know a lot of folks who don't. I salt the noodles after cutting, in a big strainer that sits across my sink.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mcf
            SilverlakeGirl RE: mcf Mar 20, 2011 06:32 PM

            Thanks for posting that. I have an eggplant waiting in the refrig and wanted something different and does not rely on mounds of cheese.

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            sedimental RE: phelana Mar 20, 2011 06:44 PM

            When I make eggplant lasagna, I use eggplant entirely- instead of pasta. I slice it very thin (lengthwise) and roast it in the oven first.

            2 Replies
            1. re: sedimental
              greygarious RE: sedimental Mar 21, 2011 10:18 AM

              That's what moussaka is, no?

              1. re: greygarious
                sedimental RE: greygarious Mar 21, 2011 10:26 AM

                No. This is made with no meat, a thick layer of ricotta/egg mixture and layered three times (as a lasagna) with moz and parm cheese.
                Edit: and tomato sauce between the layers. Just like lasagna without noodles (and without bechamel)

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              audreyhtx1 RE: phelana Mar 20, 2011 06:46 PM

              I love grilled eggplant - just slice, brush with olive oil, salt and pepper, and cook on the grill - both sides. This cut up and put in a pasta dish might be nice. I love it in sandwiches with ham and fontina cheese done like a panini - yummmm!

              The very best pasta dish I ever had with eggplant was when I used grilled eggplant slices instead of lasagna noodles in a lasagna. It was awesome.

              You can also grill eggplants sliced in half (and seasoned as above) till nice and soft, then scoop out the flesh. Chop this up or puree, and you can add it to anything.

              By the way - when I salt eggplant to get it to release liquids, I usually rinse it and dry it afterwards - squeezing out the extra moisture with paper towels. I don't think it gets that salty.


              6 Replies
              1. re: audreyhtx1
                phelana RE: audreyhtx1 Mar 21, 2011 03:22 AM

                so the lasagna, the same as a noodle lasagna only eggplant..wow...great...any tried and true recipe??

                1. re: phelana
                  enbell RE: phelana Mar 21, 2011 04:25 AM

                  If you have a crock pot this one is very easy. I used zucchini instead of the squash and my own marinara.

                  1. re: phelana
                    mcf RE: phelana Mar 21, 2011 08:00 AM

                    Any good lasagna recipe will do, but you should take steps to purge the eggplant of excess moisture first. Grilling, baking, etc. will work.

                    1. re: phelana
                      audreyhtx1 RE: phelana Mar 21, 2011 08:40 AM

                      Yes - pretty much your standard lasagna recipe with a meat ragu and a ricotta layer. I always mix well-squeezed frozen (thawed) chopped spinach in my ricotta layer.

                      1. re: audreyhtx1
                        mcf RE: audreyhtx1 Mar 21, 2011 08:51 AM

                        Me, too, wrt the chopped spinach, in all my lasagna. I use browned sausage with it, and mix it into my ricotta mixture, with shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, too.

                    2. re: audreyhtx1
                      mcf RE: audreyhtx1 Mar 21, 2011 08:01 AM

                      I always rinse and dry salted eggplant before use, too, and it does still retain a fair amount of salt, but not too much for use in a recipe, IMO.

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                      angelsmom RE: phelana Mar 21, 2011 07:04 AM

                      This has become my new eggplant favorite....I only use half and half instead of the cream....and a bit less ot it. And I cut the mozzarella to only 1/2 pound.

                      1. greygarious RE: phelana Mar 21, 2011 09:42 AM

                        I have not tried it, but have heard of using eggplant as fettucine-type noodles. Slice lengthwise into narrow strips i/4" thick, wring out in a towel to remove liquid, stir-fry, then add your sauce of choice, Italian or otherwise.

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                          adido RE: phelana Mar 21, 2011 09:58 AM

                          I try to always get the thinner eggplant so there aren’t big seeds in it. I just dice it up into half inch pieces and add it to my simple tomato sauce and let is simmer for about 30 minutes and it is done. Or add some shredded ricotta salata or some fresh mozzarella pieces and you get my version of pasta alla norma.

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                            Norm Man RE: phelana Mar 21, 2011 02:45 PM

                            I like this Giada De Laurentis recipe for Rigatoni With Roasted Eggplant Puree -- easy, tasty and light:


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                              pine time RE: phelana Mar 21, 2011 03:09 PM

                              I've never seen the need to salt the eggplant to draw out the "bitterness" that old cookbooks claim ruins the dish. But then, I'm partial to Japanese eggplant, so not sure if there's a difference (altho' I don't salt regular eggplant either. To me, it's an old wives' tale. YMMV)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: pine time
                                phelana RE: pine time Mar 21, 2011 04:38 PM

                                Enbell, I LOVE YOU..what a fabulous and easy recipe....done

                                1. re: phelana
                                  enbell RE: phelana Mar 21, 2011 08:21 PM

                                  Can't take the credit of course, but I'm so glad you liked it

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                                sushigirlie RE: phelana Mar 21, 2011 08:59 PM

                                Marcella Hazan's eggplant and ricotta sauce is a winner. http://www.culinate.com/books/collect...

                                As for why salt the eggplant, I've never done a salted versus unsalted taste test. However, I do know that when you salt sliced eggplant and let it sit in a colander for an hour over a bowl, the bowl has a murky brown liquid in it. I'll taste it next time. Actually, I think I've done it before and it was bitter, but I can't swear to that.

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                                  lidia RE: phelana Mar 22, 2011 07:14 AM

                                  These days I cook my eggplant for pasta (cut into thumb-size sticks) in a wok. That way I can add a "medium" amount of oil without getting carried away. Just make sure you give a really good mixing as you add the eggplant to the hot oil, to distribute the oil well.

                                  As for salt, it depends on the eggplant. I think most supermarket dark-skinned eggplants could use it. I have found the lighter-skinned, round, ones tend to be milder and sweeter and do not need salt.

                                  Don't know if this is a "light" recipe, but I love eggplant pasta using the eggplant fried in the wok until done (I like a bit of charring/caramelization). While cooking, use some red pepper flakes.
                                  When the pasta is done, toss with about 1/4 cup grated ricotta salata per portion, plus a good dusting of fresh grated parmesan. Check your ricotta salata, because some versions are way salty, to the point of being crusty/crystallized; I like a 'milkier' version but you may not have a choice. I can't tell you brands because I don't have any choice even here in Italy (I don't live in a "ricotta salata" zone)!

                                  You can make ricotta salata at home, though. I have used a method I found online (which one I can't find again now). I used store-bought sheep's milk ricotta and just the regular sea salt that I had on hand. It takes a few days, but the result was very nice.

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