Eggplant and tomatoes make a great pair: I eat La. | Entertainment / Life

Few duets make the taste buds sing like an eggplant and tomato combo. Well, there are okra and tomatoes, but this combo deserves a column of its own.

There are plenty of baskets of deep purple eggplant and locally grown tomatoes at Louisiana farmers markets. I made full use of it on my last shopping trip.

What I find best with eggplant and tomatoes are Italian-inspired dishes made with the flavors often found in this kitchen. I’ve included two of my favorite recipes using these ingredients – locally grown eggplant and tomatoes as well as fresh herbs from my home garden bins.

Bolognese with pasta makes a hearty meal. I love serving this rich sauce on top of the cheese-stuffed tortellini. A small portion is sure to fill a hungry stomach. I immediately packed this to send to our parents while we were out of town.

The Eggplant Bake is super easy to put together and pop out of the oven ready to sparkle at the center of the dinner table. Lay fresh basil slices on top and serve with fresh French bread for a great dinner.

Really, eggplant and tomatoes are very easy to combine into delicious dishes. As the growing seasons continue in Louisiana, we can expect to enjoy this delicious combo all summer long.

Bolonne’s eggplant

8. Recipe from Teresa B. Day makes enough.

1 pound finely ground Italian sausage

2 tablespoons olive oil

1½ to 2 pounds (3 medium) eggplant, peeled and diced

1 small yellow onion, chopped

3 minced garlic cloves

3 cups canned tomato sauce

2 cups fresh ripe tomatoes, pitted and diced

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil

Cooked penne pasta or tortellini with cheese

1. In a large Dutch oven or deep skillet, cook Italian sausage over medium heat, breaking up until browned. Remove from saucepan and set aside to filter through a sieve or plate lined with paper towels.

2. Heat the olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the eggplant, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned and tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Add tomato sauce, tomato cubes, salt, pepper and sugar.

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4. Add the sausages back to the pot and stir. Add fresh parsley, oregano and basil.

5. Cover the Dutch oven, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Serve hot over warm cooked pasta.

Mozarella Pick Eggplant

September is sufficient. The recipe from Teresa B. Day.

1 pound Italian sausage, ground

1 chopped onion

2 cloves of garlic chopped

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste

1 medium eggplant

2 tomatoes cut into slices

1 ball (8 ounces) fresh mozzarella cheese

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning mix

1 tablespoon fresh basil and chiffonade

1. Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheit.

2. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, sear sausages, onions, garlic and mushrooms.

3. Once the sausage is cooked, add the tomato paste until it is completely combined.

4. Grease a casserole. Pour the meat mixture into the dish and spread to cover the bottom.

5. Cut the eggplant into ½-inch slices and place them in the skillet to cover the meat.

6. Cut the tomatoes into slices and place them over the eggplant.

7. Cut the mozzarella cheese into slices with a thin or serrated cheese knife, about ½ inch round.

8. Lay the slices on top of the tomatoes. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the cheese.

9. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese turns brown and bubbles. Serve warm, topped with fresh basil slices.

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