Grilled Japanese eggplant with ricotta

I haven't been watching as much TV lately and that includes daytime television and The Chew. Patrick and I have been staying busy around the house and checking things off the to-do list plus we're realizing there's just so many other fun things to do besides watching TV like reading books! Well the DVR has still been recording The Chew which is one of my favorite shows. So the other afternoon I sat down in an effort to buzz through some of the 30+ episodes that had been recorded. And boy am I glad I did! This Japanese eggplant dish jumped out at me and I knew I wanted to try it immediately. Off I ventured to the farmers market and found these beautiful eggplants.

Also purchased at the market were fresh tomatoes and an onion for the sauce and a bunch of fresh basil for the dish. This dish comes together remarkably fast. The tomato sauce doesn't simmer a long time and the eggplants take no time to grill. I served this dish with a whole wheat pasta so it would make a filling entree for us. I definitely plan to make again!

Grilled Japanese Eggplant with Fresh Tomato Sauce from ABC's The Chew & Clinton Kelly
   Serves 4-6 | Time 30-45 minutes
  For the grilled eggplant
3 Japanese eggplants, sliced in half lengthwise
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
   For the fresh tomato sauce
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 medium- large farm fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
kosher and freshly ground black pepper
   To Serve
1 cup fresh cow's milk ricotta
freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 bunch fresh basil
1 lb pasta of your choice (we used whole wheat rotini)

   Preheat grill or grill-pan to medium-high heat.
   Season eggplant with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Place eggplant on grill and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the exterior is charred and the interior is cooked through.
   In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, add olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook until fragrant. Add the fresh tomatoes, simmer for 20 minutes, until the flesh breaks down, season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, heat in a small saucepan over medium heat.
   Meanwhile boil water and cook pasta according to package directions.
   Serve the grilled eggplant halves along with tomato sauce and pasta. Top with a generous dollop of ricotta, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and torn basil.


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