Eggplant lovers, rejoice!

In the event you loved Alexandra Stafford’s luscious cold peanut salad with cucumbers or her sunny summer squash spaghetti with lemon and herbs, you’re in luck! This (very busy) chef, author, blogger, and Instagrammer is again with two extra luxurious recipes that emphasize recent, seasonal produce. As ordinary, her recipes strike a steadiness between easy and showy: These meals are good for a quiet weeknight but in addition double as elegant, no-fuss ceremonial dinner fare.

In the event you’re within the temper for carbs, Stafford has a recipe for pasta cooked in a heavenly tomato sauce that comes collectively very quickly. The sauce — which is each wealthy and silky — will even burn up your extra summer season tomatoes. Oh, and in case you are feeling like tomato sauce with pasta is a boring choice, keep in mind that this dish is studded with a handful of freshly toasted pine nuts. A wholesome dose of salty parmesan pulls all of it collectively (as a result of are you able to even have pasta with out parmesan?) alongside a heap of creamy mozzarella. She recommends orecchiette, however be at liberty to make use of the pasta of your alternative.

For a barely extra elaborate Italian unfold that’s positive to impress, Stafford suggests dishing up some eggplant involtini. This recipe requires baking lengthy slices of eggplant till golden, then rolling the strips round a decadent filling of ricotta cheese, breadcrumbs, and a vivid pop of lemon zest. Notice that the involtini would require some spare tomato sauce, so have a good recipe in thoughts beforehand (or, simply decide up some jarred sauce on the grocery retailer — we received’t inform).

Now that you’ve got some inspiring dinner concepts, all you must do is contemplate a light-weight, recent summer season salad to pair along with your heartier primary dish (professional salad tip: making your own restaurant-quality dressing isn’t as laborious because it sounds).

Pasta with Easy Cherry Tomato Sauce

Serves 4

¼ cup olive oil
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
kosher salt
12 ounces pasta, comparable to orecchiette
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed pink pepper flakes (or much less if serving to kids)
1 pound small, candy tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup grated parmesan (slightly over an oz), plus extra to style
4 ounces small mozzarella balls or grated mozzarella
1/2 cup recent basil, thinly sliced or extra to style
recent cracked black pepper


Deliver a big pot of water to a boil. Place the pine nuts in a small skillet and place over
the bottom warmth doable.

In the meantime place the olive oil, shallots, and garlic in a big skillet. Season with a pinch
of salt. Flip the warmth to excessive. As quickly as you see the oil starting to shimmer, give the
shallots and garlic a stir, cowl the lid, and switch the warmth to low. Prepare dinner for roughly 10
minutes, or till the shallots and garlic are very delicate.

When the pasta water boils, add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Boil the pasta until al dente, (11
to 12 minutes for orecchiette, however examine your package deal for the correct time).

In the meantime, uncover the lid of the pan with the shallots and garlic. Add the crushed pink
pepper flakes and stir briefly. Elevate the warmth to medium, and add the tomatoes. Season
with a pinch of salt. Prepare dinner for 3 to five minutes, stirring sometimes till the tomatoes
start to interrupt down. Add 1 cup of water and convey to a delicate simmer. Style for
seasoning. Add salt and pepper to style.

Earlier than draining the pasta, reserve a cup or so of the pasta cooking liquid. (You might not
want the pasta cooking liquid, however reserve some simply in case.) Drain the pasta. Don’t
rinse or shake. Instantly switch drained pasta to the tomato sauce and stir to
mix. Flip warmth to low.

Examine on the pine nuts. Enhance the warmth to medium and stir continuously till the pine
nuts are toasted — don’t stroll away from the skillet for a second. Add them to the
pasta as soon as toasted.

Add the parmesan cheese to the pasta in addition to recent cracked pepper to style. Style.
Season with salt to style if obligatory. Add a number of the reserved pasta cooking liquid if
the sauce has thickened an excessive amount of — I’ve but to want the reserved liquid, however I all the time
reserve some ought to I would like it. Add extra parmesan to style if you want.

When the sauce is tasting seasoned to your liking, add the mozzarella and basil, stir to
mix, then serve instantly. Shave extra parmesan over high if you want. Crack
pepper over high if you want as nicely.

eggplant involtini

Easy Roasted Eggplant Involtini

Serves 2 to 4

1 to 2 medium eggplants
kosher salt and pepper
olive oil for brushing
¾ cup tomato sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half, optionally available
freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano for serving
1/2 cup recent or panko breadcrumbs
1 cup entire milk recent ricotta
grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus extra to style


Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or rub calmly with
olive oil. Trim the stem finish off every eggplant. Stand the eggplant vertically, and make
1/4-inch thick cuts right down to create lengthy slices. Prepare on a sheet pan. Pour about 3
tablespoons of oil right into a small dish. Brush every eggplant slice with olive oil. Season with
salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes. Flip. Brush different facet with oil and season with
salt and pepper. Roast for five to eight minutes extra or till starting to show golden.
Take away pan from the oven and put aside.

In the meantime, make the filling. In a bowl, stir collectively the breadcrumbs, ricotta, lemon
zest, and salt. Style. Regulate with a pinch extra salt if obligatory.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Ladle tomato sauce right into a 9-inch round baking dish or
similar-sized vessel until backside of dish is roofed in a skinny layer. Place a spoonful (about
2 teaspoons) of filling at one finish of every of the eggplant slices. Roll the slice across the
filling and place it seam-side down within the dish on high of the tomato sauce. Drizzle or
brush the cream over the rolls to moisten. Bake till the sides of sauce across the
sides of the dish are darkish and the rolls are properly caramelized, 20 to 25 minutes. Garnish
with the parmesan earlier than serving.

Alexandra Stafford lives in upstate New York along with her husband and 4 kids. Her cookbook, Bread Toast Crumbs, was nominated for the 2017 IACP Julia Baby First Ebook award. Alexandra’s meals journey started in 2003 when she graduated from Yale and moved to Philadelphia, the place she attended cooking college and labored in skilled kitchens. After spending two years at Fork, first as a prep prepare dinner, finally as sous chef, she left the restaurant world and began her weblog, Alexandra’s Kitchen. At present, she updates her weblog weekly with new recipes and contributes to varied meals web sites and magazines as nicely.

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