Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I want to go everywhere I haven't been, and back to everywhere I have been.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Comfort Food For Bitter Cold Days: Spaghetti With Eggplant Sauce

Spaghetti with Eggplant Sauce - Perfect for a winter night - by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Is there a recipe that you have made for your family over and over again, only to find out at some point that SOMEONE doesn't really like it? 

Or - have you ever been the guilty party who hasn't 'fessed up about a dish that someone makes for you because they think you really like it...but you don't have the heart to tell them you don't?

Spaghetti with Eggplant Sauce - Perfect for a winter night - by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

When my parents were first married, my mother wanted to impress my dad with her baking skills.  Her brother had a cherry tree in his backyard, and my parents went over one afternoon to pick some cherries. My father was the one on the ladder doing all the work -- I can just hear my mom giving him directions from the ground -- "That not that one!" Talk about handpicking your fruit...

The next day, she pitted all the cherries, made two pie crusts, and hours later, two gorgeous cherry pies were in the oven. She could hardly wait to serve him a piece.

He ate a slice...and asked for another.  Could there be a better compliment than when someone asks for seconds?

A couple of days went by, and she noticed that the pies were just sitting in the fridge. Finally she asked why he hadn't eaten any more.

"I don't like cherry pie."  


That story came to mind the last time I made Spaghetti with Eggplant Sauce.  

Spaghetti with Eggplant Sauce - Perfect for a winter night - by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I know it's not the best strategy went presenting a recipe on your blog, to admit that someone in the household doesn't like it, but we are keeping it real, here.

I can tell you that this is delicious and hearty...

...that is, if you like eggplant in your pasta sauce.

You know I'd rather do anything but cook, so when I do, it has to be easy.  This recipe came from RW, a former co-worker who is a fantastic cook. He gave it to me a lonnnngggg time ago, and I have been making it for least 20, maybe more.

He doesn't remember where he got the recipe, so if it's yours, or your neighbor's, or your mother-in-law's, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

As soon as I heard the bitter cold forecast, I pulled out this recipe.  It's always been my go-to comfort food on a wintry night. Key word being "always..." as in, I've made this a lot. That's important to this story, which is why I keep harping on it.

Spaghetti with Eggplant Sauce - Perfect for a winter night - by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

It really hit the spot. But I noticed that Mr. Goo Shoes had a pile of eggplant left in his bowl.

"Why didn't you eat the eggplant?"

"Because I don't like eggplant in my sauce. I don't like that primavera stuff mixed in."

(A Foodie he's not.)

"I've made this dozens of times, and you've never said anything. How can it be that I'm just finding out that you don't like it?" 

"You never made it before, that's why."

Seriously? He's got to be kidding me.  

Honestly, I'm not totally convinced that he doesn't like it...I think he was having a 
"Half-heimer's" moment. 

Junior Goo Shoes, on the other hand, was a big fan...and gobbled it all up. 

Trust me on this is the perfect meal to make this week as the thermometer plummets to ungodly lows. We're supposed to have a high of 10°F tomorrow, here in NJ, which I realize is balmy compared to what some of the rest of you are going through.  This dish will warm you from the inside out.

Spaghetti with Eggplant Sauce - Perfect for a winter night - by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


5 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
4 cups canned peeled whole tomatoes and liquid (28 oz. can plus 14 oz. can)
4 Tbsp tomato paste
3/4 cup water
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 Tbsp fresh basil or 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 pound eggplant
1 lb. spaghetti
Grated fresh parmesan cheese

Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan and add garlic.  Cook and stir without browning. 
Add tomatoes, tomato paste, water, sugar, salt, pepper, parsley and basil.  Stir to blend. Partially cover, and cook, stirring frequently for about 45 minutes.  
Meanwhile, cut off ends of eggplant. Peel and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. (*** see note below)
Heat remaining oil in large skillet.  When it is very hot, add eggplant and salt to taste. Cook, tossing until browned and tender. 
Add eggplant to tomato sauce and cover. 
Cook 30-40 minutes. 
Serve over spaghetti with parmesan cheese. 
Yield: 6-8 servings

***RW wanted me to tell you that he's cooked about 1,000 eggplants since he gave me this recipe, and he now recommends "weeping" the eggplant. No, this does not mean sitting down and having a good cry with your eggplant. It means sprinkling it with kosher salt and letting it drain in a colander for 30-60 minutes, in order to get out the bitter juices. Then, rinse quickly and dry well in paper towels; press out extra moisture. 

So there. I told you. But I can pretty much guarantee that I won't be adding this step the next time I make it. I am way too lazy. And to me, it tastes great without making your eggplant cry.

Oh, and there will be a next time...I'm taking bets that Mr. Goo Shoes won't remember he doesn't like eggplant in his tomato sauce.

Spaghetti with Eggplant Sauce - Perfect for a winter night - by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes


Linking With:
Sunday Showcase

Recipe Sharing Monday
Metamorphosis Monday
The Scoop 
Tweak It Tuesday 
A Return To Loveliness 
Time To Sparkle
Totally Tasty Tuesdays
Wow Us Wednesdays 
Home and Garden Thursday 
Feathered Nest Friday
Be Inspired  
Home Sweet Home
Simple and Sweet Friday
Fabulously Creative Friday 
Tickled Pink Times Two
Weekend Bloggy Reading 
Best of the Weekend 
Bouquet of Talent
Ladies Only Blog Share 
Food of the World: Italy


  1. Your eggplant sauce looks scrumptious! I've been making this for years, more in the summer, with our own veggies as they are tastiest then. I always salt and leave the eggplant to 'weep', especially when making moussaka. Have you heard of this dish? But, I agree, I don't think it's necessary for a tomato sauce, as the sweetness from the tomatoes helps with the bitterness of the eggplant.

    Great styling and photography; very tempting! Bon App├ętit


    1. Moussaka is one of my favorite foods! I have never made it, but I LOVE Greek food. The consensus seems to be to "weep" -- but I'm such a lazy cook. It has never tasted bitter to me, so I'm sure you are right - it must be the tomatoes.

  2. Yummeous! :-)

    My oldest daughter C was about five when she stayed overnight at a (French!) friend's house. When I picked her up the next morning, we had our usual conversations, me driving, she talking from the backseat. At one point she mentioned that she had "white" fish with tomato sauce and cauliflower, and "I ate it all up!"
    The next I met my French friend (the mother of my daughter's friend) I asked her about the recipes for that magical dinner my daughter, who at home liked neither "white" fish with tomato sauce nor cauliflower, had had at her house. Well, quick end ot the story: I cooked the same dinner and when my daughter realized what she was having on her plate, she blurted out: "Mamma, you know I hate this!" - turned out there had been a misunderstanding: she was all proud of having cleaned the plate at her friend's house because I had taught her to always be polite and clean up her plate when she was at other people's homes.

    1. That's hysterical! Well, you raised her well, that's for sure!

  3. This is a wonderful recipe, and I also always salt the eggplant to remove the bitterness. I also hate cherry pie, just about the only pie I won't eat! happy New Year. xo

    1. Thanks, Barbara. I don't like cherry pie, either. It must have been all those years of hearing the story about how my dad didn't like it!

  4. I love eggplant and we even grow it in our patio garden so I am thrilled to have this recipe. My Hubs will love it too. And yes - we always salt the eggplant too and I have a little stack of them to use up from the last late harvest {FL, you know!}. Thanks for sharing, Amy! {PS: my Hubs HATES casseroles - pretty much all of them - which I found out years after being married. LOL}.

    1. I hope you like it, Claire! That's funny about the casseroles. It took me years to learn my hubby doesn't like nuts in his food.

  5. It looks yummy. I'll keep that recipe for when I can find eggplants... Not before a few more months here! It seems to me your husband and your son exchnaged roles there! It's usually the teenagers who leave the veggies on their plate!

    1. I know, I was shocked, actually! Sometimes it is like I have two kids :)

  6. Dear Amy, This is a wonderful dish to warm up!! It is comfort!!!
    I know the feeling when all of a sudden either my son or daughter decide they suddenly don't like something! It is confusing. I know they liked it before?!
    This is a dish that is wonderful, as I grew up with a similar version and always loved it.
    Blessings dear. Catherine xo

    1. I know my son is always telling me he doesn't like something that he used to like, but I just can't get over that my hubby thought I never made this before !

  7. Love it Amy! In fact I love eggplant and am the only one in the family that likes it. What kind of Italian boys do I have LOL! I order it whenever possible. This looks really good!

    1. That's how I am with veal. My hubs won't eat it, so I order it when we go out.

  8. Pinned this one! You had me at eggplant! This looks so good and easy. Definitely, a "must try" for me.

  9. I adore eggplant, adore it!! This sounds phenomenal! Add some olives and BAM! :)

    1. that's a great idea! Olives, yes! Thanks for visiting, Gigi!

  10. Hi there , stopping by from The Scoop Blog hop.. This recipe looks so good! I love eggplant , its gonna be in our menu plan next week.


    Khit @

  11. My husband and I were married for about 13 years when he finally told me that a dish I'd been making for dinner quite often was something he really didn't like. I laughed out loud, and he was stunned because that's not the reaction he was expecting. That's when I told him I HATED it and had only been making it because he seemed to enjoy it. We were much better communicators after that ;)

  12. My husband would leave a pile of eggplant on his plate, too! Not me :)

    When they were newlyweds, my mom would make tuna noodle casserole for my dad every single Friday after he complimented her the first time she prepared it. He got so sick of it, he asked her to never make it again!

  13. This looks really interesting. I love pasta but I only heard of eggplant sauce from you. I personally avoid eggplant most of the time, hehehe. I do hope I could get myself to try this awesome dish soon! :)

    REAlity Bites

  14. This sauce sounds really good, it looks so hearty and satisfying!

  15. This sounds wonderfully hearty and delicious! I do appreciate you sharing with A Return to Loveliness,

  16. Looks delicious ;) I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  17. I've never had eggplant in my sauce, but it does look delicious. I'm saving this for later to try, though I may encounter the same eggplant problem with the man of the house. Thanks for sharing! Visiting from LOBS.

  18. I like eggplant in my father in law used to make a puttanesca version that way. But my kids don't like it. :( They're not terribly picky, but eggplant is one thing none of them like. Once they are out of the house, certain things will come back on the menu again!! Eggplant for one!


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