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?
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 one...no 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.
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 years...at 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.
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
Junior Goo Shoes, on the other hand, was a big fan...and gobbled it all up.
Trust me on this one...it 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
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.
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