I am eating this as I blog, trying to pace myself and savor every bite. This is to die for: of course, Mark Bittman's recipe. I have never made one of his recipes I didn't love. It was in last Wednesday's Times and I saved the page because it was so easy and because I had cherry tomatoes and a small eggplant. One day last week I was home and I put the cherry tomatoes into the oven and roasted them s-l-o-w-l-y, as per instructions while I went on with my life.
No time to cook so I put them in the fridge and left them there till yesterday, when I cooked the eggplant, before it passed its eat-by date. This took all of five minutes. Fortunately, the supermarket had had a sale on these cute little mini penne for 99 cents, so for a change I had all the ingredients. But any pasta will do.
Of course, I cheated a bit. I saute'd an onion and added some leftover canned tomatoes (sans jus) and some salt/red pepper flakes before I added the cherry tomatoes and aubergine. (I think that is a much sexier word than eggplant, don't you?? -- or is that just because I was French in a pervious life?)
Cooked the penne for 7 minutes, added the other stuff, grated some fresh romano cheese and that was last night's dinner. I had cooked just a cup of dry pasta and there was enough left over for tonight. Perfect, since I am leaving for Philly in the morning. Come to think of it, I have some regular-sized tomatoes that will rot while I am away for 4 days, so I think I will put them into a slow oven with some garlic and olive oil and let them roast while I finish packing tonight. Here they are, sometime later.
I am not kidding, this is better than almost any pasta I have had in a restaurant -- and believe me, I eat out a lot. This is inexpensive, easy, elegant and delicious. All it needs is a salad and some red wine.You could add capers and anchovies and it would still be fabulous.
On another note...Yes, I did see a friend today! The lovely and talented LInda Hicks (http://lindahicksweb.com) and her charming husband Joe came to Montclair to see my exhibit and then were going to the Newark Museum to see the wonderful quilt exhibit I posted about a few days ago. Linda and Joe live in Boston and were in NY for the week, so the drive to my part of NJ was not a problem.
We met for lunch and while I can't speak for them, I had such a delightful time that I was sorry we didn't have longer. Next time they are in NY, we need to meet in the city. Ah...the joys and perks of friendships that are born on the Internet and turn out to be real!
Using up more food that will go bad in the next 4 ays, I made some goats's milk strawberry ice cream and while I think I put in too much sugar, it will be okay and maybe when I get back I will go back into it and see how I can make it better.
For now, I am waiting for the tomatoes to finish roasting and then I'll tie up a few loose ends.