Saturday, July 27, 2013

Eggplant and Tomato Pasta Sauce Base

One of our favourite things to do on a Sunday is wander the local markets.  We skip lunch and instead snack from the many offerings out for tasting and stock up our pantry with handmade delights and super fresh produce.

It was on one of these trips that we tried the pasta sauce that inspired this recipe.  This eggplant and tomato pasta sauce is great on its own, but even better as a sauce base.  Perfect for hiding veggies if you have a fussy eater, it adds an amazing depth of flavour to any tomato based sauce.  It makes for a truly delicious bolognaise, a wonderful ratatouille, a fab lasagne - pretty much your imagination is the limit. An easy variation is just to add a handful of fresh herbs before serving.

And best of all it is super easy to make in bulk and store in the freezer to turn a quick meal into a super one.

Eggplant and Tomato Pasta Sauce Base
2 eggplant (aubergine)
1 large onion diced
2 cloves of garlic diced
1-2 680g jars passata (depending on how big your eggplant are and how runny you want your sauce)
1/2 cup red wine
Splash of red wine vinegar

Slice your eggplant lengthwise in half.  Lay them cut side up on a baking tray and spray or lightly brush with olive oil.  Bake at 150 degrees celcius for 1-2 hours until the skin is bubbled and leathery and the inside is soft.  The cut side will get a little brown but shouldn't get too dark.  The length of cooking will depend on the size of your eggplant.

When they are ready take them out of the oven and allow to cool for 10 or so minutes or until you can handle them.  Then scrape all the flesh out of the skin and discard the skin.

Meanwhile caramalise your diced onion in a heavy casserole.  You want it nice and golden.  Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes till fragrant.  Add in the eggplant, passata, red wine and vinegar, stir to combine.

Now blitz it with a stick blender.  You should end up with a very thick, creamy red sauce - ready to eat or add to your own pasta recipe.

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