Chipotle Linguini with Spicy Eggplant Sauce
The Freds recently took a trip to Rochester NY, which, in one of our opinions is the greatest small city in the United States. While there, we visited one of the best features of the city – the Saturday Public Market. The market is bustling with residents from all over the city who make the weekly pilgrimage as if it were a religious site. And well, there are things about it that are pretty holy. Juan and Maria’s empanadas, for example… but we digress. While there, we stopped at the Pappardelle’s pasta stand and bought more interesting pastas than we probably should have, but that’s what happens at the public market. The jubilation of the scene gets to you and you end up coming home with a bunch of whoopee pies, three pounds of weird pasta flavors that don’t go together and maybe even a live chicken to slaughter for soup. Yeah, they have those at the market too.
But back to our pasta. It comes from these folks, who make small batch pastas in Denver in over 100 different flavors. Check out their website if you’re curious about what makes their pasta so unique in this age of Barilla dominance. We love their pasta because it instantly makes a meal more interesting (and usually more colorful). Today we cooked up the chipotle linguini we bought from them with a spicy eggplant based sauce which we adapted from a recipe on their website. Which is another great thing about Pappardelle’s – they provide multiple recipe pairings for all of their pasta varieties, which are simple and delicious!
Chipotle Linguini with Spicy Eggplant Sauce (adapted from Pappardelle’s recipe suggestions )
(Serves 4 as a main dish)
1 lb. Chipotle Linguini
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb. eggplant, cut into small dice
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more to taste)
2 medium tomatoes, diced, as much liquid reserved as possible
2 teaspoons fresh oregano (1 teaspoon dried)
Freshly ground black pepper
Place diced eggplant into a fine mesh colander and lightly salt. This will draw out the moisture and bitterness. Allow to sit 20-30 minutes, tossing occasionally. Press a layer of paper towels firmly into the eggplant before cooking to soak up any remaining moisture.
Cook pasta in a pot of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente; about 8-10 minutes. Drain, reserving at least a quarter cup of cooking liquid and rinse pasta with warm water. If you’ll be waiting a while for your sauce to finish we suggest tossing the pasta with a bit of reserved cooking liquid to keep it from sticking as it awaits sauce.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet set over medium. Once the oil is hot add your eggplant and red pepper flakes. Stir frequently to prevent the eggplant from sticking and cook for about 5 minutes, adding the garlic for the final minute. Stir in oregano and tomatoes with their liquid, cover and cook another 10-12 minutes until the eggplant is thoroughly cooked. If sauce is too thick, add reserved pasta cooking liquid slowly until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve sauce over individual plates of pasta and garnish with fresh oregano.