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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

End-of-Summer Spaghetti Sauce

For some, the end of summer came several weeks ago, but in Albuquerque summer lingered this year, so here's one last "summer" recipe. This can be cooked anytime you find a good eggplant, however.

Gardening in the desert was a disappointment this summer but it has taught me just how hard plants try to do their life's work, in spite of strong hot winds, drought, insect attacks, and disease. Although we experienced all these traumas this summer, I got several eggplants, some tomatoes, onions, lots of garlic, and the herbs needed for this recipe. I'm glad since this mostly veggie sauce is great for pasta or polenta and I like to cook it at least once each summer. Skip the anchovies for a vegan dish.


End-of-Summer Spaghetti Sauce

Source: Local Flavors:  Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets  by Deborah Madison
Yields sauce enough for 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of spaghetti

1 1/2 to 2 pds eggplant, peeled and sliced a scant 1/2-in thick
2 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers, quartered lengthwise
1/4 c oil, plus extra for the eggplant
1 onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
3 anchovies (optional)
1/3 c chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish
2 pds ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped, or canned equivalent (28-oz can)
1/4 c Kalamata or Gaeta olives, pitted and chopped
1/4 c green Sicilain olives, pitted and chopped
3 T capers, rinsed
1 T dried oregano
1/4 c water or juice from the tomatoes
salt and ground pepper
1 pd spaghetti
1 c Pecorino Romano cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

Preheat the broiler and place peppers on a baking sheet under the broiler, skin side up and cook until blistered. Stack the pepper quarters on top of each other and cover; allow to steam for 15 minutes and peel. Lightly brush a sheet pan with oil and place the eggplant slices on it. Brush the tops of the slices with oil and broil both sides until browned. Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, dice the broiled eggplant slices and the peeled peppers. 

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic, anchovies, and the parsley. Saute until the onions are softened. Add the peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, olives, capers, oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for 30 minutes. 

Cook the pasta. Stir in the sauce and top with more parsley. Pass the grated cheese among diners.

Note: I've frozen this sauce successfully.

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