Eggplant Crockpot Pasta Sauce

served with Parmesan and basil

ingeredients

The last 10 minutes of San Francisco’s Heart of the City Farmers Market are filled with vendors shouting “$1 a bag!” which is how I ended up lugging home 2 bags of eggplant and a huge bag of tomatoes home on the Bart train!

We’re in the middle of one of those rare but scorching Bay Area heat spells, so I decided to use my Crockpot to cook the eggplant and veggies instead of roasting them in the oven. Although not as toothsome as roasting, they came out tasty and ready to mix with penne or rigatoni pasta.

chopped vegetables

Ingredients:
A very large bag of tomatoes. It’s fine if they’re a little soft, and that’s what you’re going to get with bargain bag tomatoes anyway.
5 long Italian eggplants and 4 small globe eggplants
1 ½ small onions, (or one large onion)
2 bell peppers (or a bag of frozen sliced bell peppers).
5 large mushrooms
6 spicy chicken Italian sausages (you can use sweet if that’s too spicy for you)
8 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
Parmesan rind
4 bay leaves,
Sprig of rosemary
1 Tb oregano
1 ½ tsp salt
A few grinds black pepper
1 Tb of olive oil
1 Tb red wine
1 Tb of sugar

Add after cooking sauce:
1 can artichoke hearts
1 fresh bunch of basil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2/3 pound of penne or rigatoni pasta

Chop the vegetables and sausage and add the other ingredients in the first list to the Crockpot. I went to the trouble of dipping the tomatoes in boiling water and peeling them, but it’s not really necessary to do that.

in the crock pot

Cooked sauce in the Crockpot

I started the sauce after work and let it cook all night. (You can also start yours in the morning and cook it all day.) I was a little worried that there wouldn’t be enough liquid to cook it properly, but in the morning I realized that the vegetables had released plenty of liquid. I removed the Parmesan rind, which had given up its flavor to the sauce.

I added a can of chopped artichoke hearts. I chopped half the bunch of fresh basil I had bought at the farmers market and stirred it in with the freshly grated Parmesan. I let it sit in the fridge until dinner time so the flavors would develop.

At dinnertime, I boiled 2/3 of a pound box rigatoni pasta  and mixed it together with the sauce. I chopped up the rest of the fresh basil and sprinkled it on top with more Parmesan. This made 9 meals. Yay for leftovers!

layered with Parmesan

layered sauce with Parmesan

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Asparagus and Mushroom Scramble

Asparagus is a symbol of Spring for me. It has a nutty green taste.

Did you know that asparagus tips are immature leaves?

My husband, Jesús, used to pick it as a child farm worker. He told me that once the leaves open, the asparagus is ruined. Because of the urgency of picking the fast-growing asparagus before the leaves open, his family was required to harvest it a grueling 6 ½ days a week!  Jesús never wanted look at another asparagus stalk! I am still working on getting him to eat it.

2 medium asparagus

About 1 Tb minced chives, from 5 chives or 1 green onion (scallion)

2 large mushrooms

3 eggs

¼  tsp butter

1 Tb water

1 Tb grated sharp cheddar or Jarlsburg cheese

a few shakes salt

Soak asparagus and eggs in a bowl of warm water for about 5 minutes to warm eggs and cleanse asparagus.

Mince chives or scallions.

Rinse asparagus a few times to remove any dirt, then chop finely. Slice mushrooms

Beat eggs then grate cheese into the eggs. Add salt and beat well.

asparagus and mushrooms n green onions

Heat a nonstick skillet. Rub a butter stick over the hot pan until it is coated with about ¼ tsp butter. Add mushrooms, chives and asparagus. Sauté a few minutes, then add 1 Tb warm water so that the asparagus can steam another minute.

Pour eggs over asparagus and gently turn with spatula until desired doneness. Nice with toast.

asparagus and mushroom scramble

Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with 3 Cheeses and Fresh Herbs

2 portobellosThese giant, meaty mushrooms make a flavorful bed for fresh herbs and tomatoes, topped with sizzling cheeses. Nice on a bed of soft polenta accompanied by a dry white wine. And aren’t they beautiful!

I make these in my toaster oven.

portobello n polenta

 

gills too

gills and top

2 Portobello mushrooms

1 Tb extra virgin olive oil, plus a bit more to oil mushrooms and  pan

½ tsp minced fresh garlic

½ minced shallot

¼ tsp minced fresh rosemary

1 tsp fresh oregano and ¼ tsp dried oregano

1 tsp chopped fresh basil

a pinch of ground sage

1 medium tomato

a few shakes salt (to taste)

a shake red pepper flakes

several grinds black pepper

2 Tb grated Fontina cheese OR mozzarella cheese

1 tsp blue cheese

3 Tb grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp Panko breadcrumbs

1 tsp dry sherry (optional)

If serving with with polenta, start the polenta first, so it will be ready when the mushrooms are done. It usually takes about 45 minutes to cook on the stove. Heat 2 1/2 cups water to boiling, add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp ground sage. Mix 1/2 cup polenta thoroughly with 1/3 cup cold water. Stir it into the boiling water until smooth. Cook for 45 minutes over low heat, stirring every 5 minutes or so. You can add a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan and 1 tsp butter when it is done cooking.

Rinse mushrooms and wipe with wet paper towel. Slice the woody tip end off the stems and discard. Spread garlic olive oil on both sides of mushrooms and bake gill side up in 450’ oven (or toaster oven) for 10 minutes.

While mushrooms are baking, mince the garlic, shallot, and rosemary.  Sauté them in 1 Tb olive oil until cooked, about 5 minutes.

Let mushrooms cool, then dig out stems with a butter knife so there is an indentation in the mushroom. Pour the juice from the cooked mushroom into the pan. Chop the stems finely.

Stir the chopped stems and tomato into the garlic and shallots. Add the oregano, basil, sage, panko, dry sherry, salt and peppers.

ready for broiler

Rinse  tray and then smear with a with a bit of olive oil. Place mushrooms gill side up on it.

Mix the grated Fontina or mozzarella cheese, blue cheese, and 2 tablespoons of the grated Parmesan cheese into the filling mix. Spoon into stem indentation and spread mixture over the top of the mushrooms. Sprinkle each with 1/2 Tb of Parmesan cheese. Broil about 5 minutes, until cheese is bubbly.

broiled mushrooms n cheese

 

Fresh Rosemary-Mushroom Scramble

Rosemary in a egg scramble? Who’da thunk? My wonderful daughter Sonia did, and invented this incredible meld of flavors. Together we perfected this scramble. I prefer scrambles to rolled omelets because they are easier, and I prefer my eggs well cooked. But you could make this recipe into an omelet as well.

Ingredients:

Serves 2

1/4 tsp. butter ( I rub the stick of butter on the warm pan until it coats it)

½ tsp. minced fresh rosemary

1 tsp minced fresh chives or green parts of scallion

5 mushrooms, quartered and sliced

4 large eggs

¼ cup milk (we use 1%)

2 Tb grated sharp cheddar cheese (we use low-fat)

a few shakes salt to taste

Whisk eggs well with milk and sprinkle in a few shakes salt. Whisk in grated cheese.

Sauté mushrooms and rosemary in butter in a non-stick frying pan until mushrooms are coated in rosemary butter.

Add chives or scallions. Let sit for a few seconds.

Pour eggs over mushrooms. Push eggs around with spatula so they don’t brown. Cook until eggs reach desired consistency.

Nutritional Info
  • Servings Per Recipe: 2
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 90.8
  • Total Fat: 5.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 114.4 mg
  • Sodium: 337.8 mg
  • Total Carbs: 3.5 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 0.6 g
  • Protein: 7.4 g

View full nutritional breakdown of Rosemary-Mushroom Scramble calories by ingredient

This recipe can also be viewed at

http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/cookbooks.asp?cookbook=288991