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Here is a recipe that I love to make and really hope others benefit from it.   It uses fresh vegetables and is very easy to make and serve.

I’ve actually used this recipe before on my site, but with one difference – with the other recipe I use pasta sauce already made, while in this recipe I use fresh tomatoes and let them cook down.

I’d give yourself a good hour from start to finish with half that time doing the chopping and prepping.

The three main vegetables are eggplant (melanzane), zucchini (zucchine), and tomato (pomodoro).  Yes, technically tomatoes are fruits, but let’s keep it simple eh?

This recipe is one of my favorites because there are no hard and fast rules with quantities, measurements or even ingredients.

For example, you can choose to use three zucchini or if you only have two then use two.   If you have a really large eggplant, you can use half of it or all of it.

The one biggest tip I would have to give is not to skimp on the tomatoes, and try your best to use meaty tomatoes like Roma.

Main Ingredients:

  • 5-6 large ripe chopped tomatoes (if using Roma tomatoes you will need more)
  • 1 eggplant peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 chopped zucchini
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • A good handful of fresh basil
  • Ziti pasta (any short variety and if you only have long, that is fine too)
  • Salt
  • Italian grated cheese such as Romano or Parmesan
  • Reserved pasta water

Directions:

  1. Start off by heating a large frying pan with about 3 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat
  2. Add in the crushed garlic
  3. When the garlic is fragrant, add in the eggplant and zucchini and cook for about 10 minutes giving a stir from time to time
  4. Add in the chopped tomatoes, stir and cover for about another 10 minutes giving a good stir from time to time
  5. Your vegetables should at this point be cooking down with liquid in the pan and tender to pierce with a fork.
  6. Add in a pinch of salt
  7. Start bringing the water to a boil for the pasta and cook the pasta
  8. When pasta is al dente (a slight chewy bite – not mushy!), transfer the pasta to the frying pan.  **Remember to reserve some of the pasta water just in case you need to add some liquid to the sauce later**
  9. Add in the fresh basil and give a good stir and serve
  10. Top with cheese.

A few tips I learned along the way:

  • Sometimes I add an extra swirl or two of the olive oil if some flavor is lacking at the end.
  • Goes great with garlic bread on the side plus a salad – try a cannellini bean salad or regular green salad.
  • Taking the time to remove the seeds from the eggplant will cut down on the bitter taste from eggplant, but in lieu of time you can easily just skip that.  I do it both ways depending on my time frame (and mood).
  • Using the reserved water really helps especially if you cook down the tomatoes too much.
  • As mentioned above, you can save more time by using a tomato pasta sauce -but the flavor will be different.
  • The bigger the frying pan the better.  I use our Cuisinart French Classic Stainless 5-1/2-Quart Saute Pan which I love!   It’s perfect for these types of dishes.
  • This recipe gives about 4 servings, and makes for great left overs.

I learned this recipe from my mother-in-law who first made it for us with fresh vegetables right from her garden outside.

The zucchini however were white Italian zucchini which have a milder taste.  So our regular green zucchinis do change the flavor a little bit, but in no way is it a bad thing!

I’ve made this dish without the eggplant, and kept it to tomatoes and zucchini as well.  You just can’t beat it!

Have any tips or ideas of your own – comment below and let our readers know!

Liz
SimpleItalianCooking