My better half had just returned from three days of driving across and around two states. I knew she would be tired and not in the mood to eat much at all. Sitting in a car all day will do that to a person. Fortunately, I had a spare eggplant and some noodles so I knew, with a little help from some spices, I could create a nice dinner she could not refuse. And it only took about 30 minutes to prep and cook!
Sweet and Spicy Eggplant Parmesan for Two
Prep: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and start heating a large stock pot of salted water for the pasta.
1 large eggplant, sliced crosswise, between a quarter and a half inch in thickness
Olive oil, you will need a good bit of this. Just keep the bottle handy.
8 oz. angel hair pasta (capellini)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
Tip: to keep the eggplant slices from sticking to the baking sheet and casserole dish, you may want to apply a light coat of cooking spray first.
Place the eggplant slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush a little olive oil onto each slice.
Turn the slices over and brush olive oil onto the eggplant, just as before. Place eggplant slices (still on the baking sheet, silly) into the preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes or until the top of the eggplant slices start to brown.
By now your pasta water should be boiling. Add the angel hair pasta, stir once with a wooden spoon, and let cook.
Once the eggplant has browned on top, using an oven mitt (hot oven, remember?) and a metal spatula, flip the eggplant slices, then bake for another 10 minutes.
Time for the sauce!
In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, lime juice, sugar, cayenne pepper, cumin, and sea salt. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
When the eggplant has finished baking, remove from the oven BUT DO NOT TURN OFF THE OVEN.
Layer the eggplant slices in a 9×13 casserole dish, offsetting the slices slightly. Drizzle the sauce over the eggplant. Bake in the oven one more time, for 10 minutes.
Your pasta should be done by now. Drain in a colander, then return the cooked pasta to the pan and cover.
Tip: to help keep the noodles from sticking together, gently stir in a tablespoon or two of butter.
Putting It All Together
Begin by creating a nice bed of cooked pasta in the center of your dinner plate.
Place 4 or 5 eggplant slices on top of the pasta.
Sprinkle a few chopped mint leaves on top of the eggplant.’
Finish by sprinkling grated Parmesan cheese over everything.
Kripyā bhojan kā ānnaṅd lijīyai! (enjoy the meal!)