Eggplant is an ingredient I rarely cook with. Since it's currently in season, I'm trying to use it more. I'm starting with this classic Italian preparation, known by some as pasta a la Norma. The sauce is made from fresh tomatoes and shallow-fried eggplant. It's seasoned with basil leaves and lots of cheese. I plan on serving mixed greens on the side and a full-bodied, unoaked Chardonnay. Want to see the recipe I'm using? It's vegetarian-friendly and can be found right here.
After finding out many of you seriously know Asian sauces, I pointed you in the direction of recipes worth trying with stellar sauces. By now, you should be the ultimate expert when it comes to sauces of all kinds — so I'm going to lay it on thick with some questions about signature sauces of Italy! Here's the scoop: I'll list out a cluster of ingredients, and I want you to guess the name of the Italian specialty. Can you keep up? Let's find out!
Source: Flickr User paPiscTake the Quiz
- Learn the correct way to sauce pasta.
- Learn the correct way to sauce pasta. — Chow
- Does an edible school garden really affect how well kids do in school? — The Atlantic
- Giada De Laurentiis is developing a cookware line for Target. — The Epi-Log
- Must make: white bean bisque with garlic chips. — Serious Eats
- Gail and Padma reveal secrets from behind the scenes of Top Chef. — Grub Street NY
- The mayor of New York City has asked food companies and restaurants to cut salt content by 25 percent. — Eater NY
- The latest trendy diet? Eating like a caveman. — New York Times
Since it's easy to prepare and so versatile, I cook pasta at least once a week. Lately, I've been experimenting with various sauces and pasta shapes to see how the factors make a difference in taste, so I gave La Famiglia DelGrosso a try.
I sampled three of eight different sauces, all of which have kitschy titles named after family members. My boyfriend thought Aunt Mary Ann's Sunday Marinara was "light on flavor," but I preferred it to its competitors. A Trader Joe's pomodoro sauce tasted sickly sweet in comparison. Uncle Joe's Vodka Celebration was my favorite of the bunch: the texture was creamy, but the sauce wasn't as light in color as most commercial vodka sauces, which often are too heavy on cream.
The sauce possessed a strong umami quality (incidentally, tomatoes contain high amounts of umami). Uncle Bo's Roasted Red Pepper Tour was made with — you guessed it — roasted red peppers, and it was my sweetie's favorite of the three because of its deep, smoky flavor.
Certainly no commercial variety can replace a homemade pasta sauce, but La Famiglia sauces work in a pinch. They are available at select Whole Foods and other grocers across the country. Have you tried any of the brand's flavors? What did you think of them?
During the Summer it's important to take advantage of the bounty of fresh vegetables. In this vegetarian dish, the pure flavor of eggplant is highlighted. The simple recipe combines canned beans with a garlicky pasta sauce and breaded, sautéed eggplant. Salty feta cheese is a lovely garnish to this delicious dinner.
This recipe is a must make, so get it now when you read more
A sauce of meat, poultry, or a combination of the two and finely diced vegetables simmered for a long time in one or more liquids, such as water, milk, cream, wine, broth, or stock and seasonings. A staple of northern Italy's Bologna, ragu is typically served with pasta.
Though different than the French ragout, both are derived from the verb "ragouter," which means to stimulate the appetite.