First domesticated in Asia, eggplant has been popular all over the world for centuries. It’s one of the best vegetables to substitute for meat to bring substance and texture to a sauce, as in this hearty ragu.
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large or 2 small eggplant, diced
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 2 green bell peppers, finely chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, finely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- ¼ cup minced fresh thyme
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
- 2 (28-ounce) cans chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup tomato paste
- 3 cups water
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the eggplant, onions, bell peppers, celery, and salt, and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are very soft, about 15 minutes.
- Add the garlic, thyme, and rosemary, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, and water. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, for 30 minutes. Add black pepper to taste.
- Cool the sauce in the refrigerator, then freeze in a sealed freezer bag. The sauce will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- To serve, defrost the night before in the fridge. Then simply pour the sauce from the bag into a saucepan and warm over medium heat until it is hot throughout. Enjoy it on your choice of base.
- With pasta: (2 cups sauce per pound of pasta) Spoon sauce over fettuccine. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
- With baked potato: (1 cup sauce per potato) My Family’s Favorite: Spoon sauce over potato. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.
- With chicken: (1 cup sauce per pound of chicken) Spoon sauce over sliced chicken. Serve with white rice.
- On sandwich: (half cup sauce per sandwich) Spread sauce evenly over horizontally sliced baguette. Top with sliced mozzarella cheese.
- With soup: (4 cups sauce and 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth per 4-serving pot) Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.