Eggplant Tomato Sauce
Eggplant is like the odd one out. I do not feel that enough people in the world take this veggie seriously enough. It is so very versatile and does add a very cool flavor or texture to a dish. But one has to be willing to give something new a shot in order to get up the nerve to buy it at all.
This simple weeknight red sauce could be the introduction you need. The eggplant adds a special something in the flavors of this sauce. But, if your kids are scared of "something special", make it with meatballs. They won't even realize that there are vegetables with which they hate (without having ever tried) inside of it.
120 g chopped onions
2 T olive oil + up to a 1/4 of a cup for the eggplant
15 g pressed garlic
420 g chopped eggplant -skin off (about 2)
3 T tomato paste
1/4 c red pesto
100 ml red wine
1 t dried oregano
700 g tomato purée
about 115-130 ml water from rinsing out the jar or can of tomato purée
For the sauce... Sauté the onion in 2 T olive oil for 5-10 minutes, allowing some color to form on medium/medium-low heat with a lid. Then add the garlic and stir. Cook for a couple of minutes.
Of the 1/4 of a cup of olive oil, you will need to add more oil while you are cooking the eggplant. It is very porous and will absorb any liquid with which it makes contact. So, add the eggplant and some of the oil. If it no long is sizzling when cooking add some more oil while stirring. Keep adding oil as necessary. You want it to cook for at least 5 minutes and begin to shrink in size. Mix it regularly. Then add the tomato paste and the red pesto. Stir again regularly, and cook for another 5-8 minutes on the lowest heat with the lid on.
Once ready to add the wine turn up the heat and get it sizzling. Add the wine, and while using the wooden spatula, scrape any bits off the bottom. Cook a couple of minutes at that temperature until about 1/2 of the wine begins to evaporate. Then add the purée, s&p and oregano. Bring to a boil, then drop to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes with the lid on.
*If adding meatballs, and they are larger in size, you can sear the outside of them and then carefully finish cooking them in the bubbling sauce. But, make sure the sauce is properly warmed up before you place them inside.