Friday, July 29, 2011

Eggplant Parmigiano with Cacio e Pepe

In between caring for the pup, I have been trying to feed everyone as well. A few days ago, Kary at My Farmhouse Kitchen made eggplant parm. I had some extra eggplant I needed to use and her recipe made me crave some good parm so I made this. But first, an update on Teddy. I am going to post what I learn as I go through this experience just in case any of you have not been through this but might need to do so in the future. First of all: an attitude adjustment about the cone! As much as I hate her having to wear it, I have decided it is much like any of us having to wear a cast. They are bulky and uncomfortable, they are hot and itchy, and they are basically a pain in the butt. But, there is no way around them, especially in Teddy's case. The damage she could do by sticking her head in the bushes to scratch her face, or what she could do with one swipe of her huge paws and deadly nails...well, it is not worth the risk. So sure, she is not lovin' the face vase but she is wearing it! Lesson 2: Teddy lays on her side as do many dogs when they are in deep sleep. She had not done this since she has been in her cone. I finally realized that she hates the sound of the cone scraping on the stone floor. It it is loud to me, I can just imagine how loud it is for her. So, I put a flannel sheet over the stone which enables the coolness to still pass through but cuts down tremendously on the noise from the cone. She checked out the sheet, laid down and immediately rolled on her side and started snoring. And my most current tip, which was figured out by my husband who is not too good at coming up with these things: ice chips! Teddy was having trouble drinking with the cone on so he suggested feeding her ice chips! worked and was an excellent solution.

Now back to cooking!

I am blaming all of these blurry photos on my lack of sleep. I feel like I have a newborn.

For the simple sauce, I sauteed some diced onions and garlic in some olive oil. I added salt and pepper, thyme and oregano.

When the onions began to soften, I added a can of crushed tomatoes.

I let this simmer a bit until it thickened, then set it aside.

For the eggplant coating, I crushed a bunch of assorted crackers until I had a fine crumb.

I placed them in a bowl and added some flour, salt and pepper, granulated garlic and a bit of Italian seasoning.

In a second bowl, I whisked a couple eggs with a bit of water.

I slice the eggplant into about 1/4 inch slices. No need to salt eggplant anymore. They have genetically engineered the bitterness out of it.

First dip a piece of eggplant in the egg, then in the crumbs, then back in the egg and the crumbs once more.

Place them in a deep pot to which you have added about 1/2 inch of oil. The oil should be heated to medium/high.

Fry the eggplant on both sides until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Place them on a cookie sheet and place it in a 170 degree oven to keep them warm and crisp.

Boil some pasta in heavily salted water. I think angel hair is too thin for this and regular spaghetti is a bit heavy, so I used spaghettini. I am like the Goldilocks of pasta. When the pasta is al dente, drain it and add 2 tablespoons of butter and some cracked black pepper. You can add some Parmesan cheese but I forgot! It is also a good idea to save a cup or so of the pasta water to add to this if it is too dry

Place a nice portion of pasta in a flat bowl.

Top it with a slice of the eggplant and a slice of fresh Mozzarella. You can place the Mozzarella on it while it is resting in the oven to soften the cheese. Drizzle some of your tomato sauce over the top.

Place a spoonful of pesto in the middle of the sauce.

Sprinkle lightly with grated Parmesan.

My husband said this was the best eggplant Parmesan he has ever eaten. I agree!