Sweet-and-sour eggplant caponata is an iconic Sicilian classic that can be served over toast, but this version makes an equally easy pasta sauce. Instead of having to fry or roast eggplant separately, this version skips that step altogether by sauteeing everything together in a single pot.
This vegetarian dish includes American globe eggplant, celery, red onion, tomatoes, olives and raisins for a tasty side or main course option.
Eggplant can be an uninspiring vegetable when served raw, but roasting gives it a beautiful caramelized exterior and sweet, juicy interior that elevates this seemingly simple vegetable! Roasting eggplant at home is straightforward and offers many creative uses – here it’s mixed with pasta, olive oil and ricotta; inspired by traditional caponata dishes made by sauteing eggplant along with tomatoes, anchovies, capers onions and vinegar into a flavorful side dish or salad option that also makes a filling vegetarian meal option!
Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees and lining 1-2 baking sheets with foil or parchment paper. Next, wash and dry the eggplant before cutting it into large cubes (at least 1-inch cubes for even cooking and no mushiness) that can cook evenly during baking. If bitterness is an issue for you, sprinkle your eggplant cubes with salt for 30 minutes after adding to reduce excess moisture out and help neutralise any bitter flavors that might otherwise exist in them.
After 30 minutes, gently stir the eggplant before transferring it to baking sheets and drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt, black pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Bake until tender and golden-brown in color while periodically stirring gently during this process. While your eggplant bakes, bring a large pot of salted water to boil in order to begin making pasta in its place.
An iconic Sicilian dish involves tossing eggplant cubes into a pan with tomatoes, capers, and olives for an agrodolce stew-like dessert that pairs beautifully with crusty bread or fish. There are numerous variations available from Palermo to Catania with local ingredients being showcased by different versions. While large cubes of eggplant may usually be deep-fried instead of being roasted for additional flavor – creating both sweet and savory notes similar to jammy agrodolce spreads or fillings which could serve as fillings in pasta dishes!
Vegetables in this dish are packed with lycopene, which has been shown to help protect against certain cancers and boost heart health. Eggplant, tomatoes and capsicum all contain high concentrations of this powerful antioxidant; adding just a little lycopene goes a long way; just like when spending time outside or eating foods rich in fruits and vegetables!
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-low heat in a large pot and add onion. Saute until softened, approximately four minutes; add garlic for thirty seconds more cooking.
Stir together tomato paste, diced tomatoes (I prefer canned diced tomatoes for this dish, though fresh or canned are both fine), and all other ingredients. Bring to a low boil over low heat while stirring regularly for at least 10 minutes before taking it off the heat and serving!
Once the tomatoes have simmered for some time, add raisins and vinegar. Additionally, red bell pepper and olives provide texture while seasoning is done using salt, oregano and crushed red pepper flakes. If serving caponata with pasta, bring a pot of salted water to boil while making pasta at the same time as simmering sauce; once finished drain the pasta from it and transfer to serving bowl where caponata resides. You may garnish it with parsley and pine nuts, if desired.
Caponata, a Sicilian dish created to celebrate late-summer produce, features eggplants, onions, tomatoes, peppers, olives, and olives in an exhilarating combination of vinegar, sugar and fruit. Our weeknight pasta-inspired by this dish uses the oven instead of pan frying as roasting the eggplant achieves similar results more healthily than frying would do.
Produce a tasty vegetarian main course suitable for sharing with family or friends; one-pot cleanup makes this process quick and simple!
Before beginning to boil the pasta water, begin by prepping and making your sauce. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat and add diced eggplant; saute until softening begins, around 7 minutes.
As soon as your pan is off of the heat, remove and transfer the eggplant to a bowl. Fold in tomato sauce, olives, capers, onion and garlic before seasoning to your taste with salt and pepper.
Return the skillet to medium heat and add the raisin vinegar, stirring periodically as they cook until their raisins begin to dissolve and the vinegar has almost completely disappeared. Transfer this mixture to a small bowl for storage before stirring again as necessary.
Once your pasta is al dente, drain and reserve about one cup of its starchy cooking water before tossing with eggplant mixture and tossing evenly to coat evenly. Add additional pasta water as needed to loosen sauce before dividing among shallow bowls, topping with ricotta cheese and serving immediately.
As in other Sicilian dishes, eggplant plays an integral part in caponata. Grilled or fried before being combined with sweet onions, tomatoes, capers, olives and olives into an agrodolce spread-meets-stew mixture, this jammy delight can be eaten on crusty bread alone or served alongside meat, fish or eggs as a side dish.
In this eggplant recipe, tomatoes and eggplant are cooked together before being mixed with other ingredients to form the sauce. While that simmers away, bring a pot of salted water to boil for pasta cooking until al dente is reached. Meanwhile, preheating your oven to 450 degrees F.
Chopped eggplant should be chopped into large cubes and coated evenly on both sides with oil, then placed onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for approximately 7 to 8 minutes or until softened and lightly browned on the bottom. Remove from the oven and transfer to a bowl. In another skillet heat 1/4 cup of oil then coat both sides evenly of remaining eggplant cubes evenly before seasoning them with salt and pepper and sauteing over medium-high heat until tender and browned in spots; transfer back into bowl along with other vegetables.
Reduce heat to medium-low and saute onions, garlic, celery, olives, and raisins until tender yet not overly soft or limp. Stir tomato paste into skillet for several minutes before stirring in crushed tomatoes with sugar, salt, red pepper flakes and vinegar before finally adding olives and raisins and stirring.
While the eggplant mixture is simmering, drain and reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before adding it to the eggplant mixture and mixing over medium-low heat until all of the eggplant has been heated through and its sauce thickened, adding additional pasta water as needed if necessary. Season to taste with salt and pepper as necessary before topping with torn basil leaves and olive oil drizzle for serving.
Eggplant caponata is a classic Italian condiment, perfect as an antipasto spread, bruschetta topping or pasta side. We have made an eggplant caponata weeknight dinner recipe even better by including other Mediterranean favorites — olives, raisins and tomatoes — into this tasty vegetarian entree dish. Make up to one day ahead in advance and store in the fridge; once made it can also be easily heated back up on the stovetop before being added back onto pasta dishes for serving!
An eggplant caponata’s secret lies in a slow cooking method which allows all of its components to soften without becoming mushy, giving the dish its distinctive sweet, salty and tangy taste that’s so recognisable. As you go along it is important to taste and season as needed – excessive salt or pepper may seem overpowering now but will settle when combined with cooked pasta, tomato sauce and creamy ricotta cheese.
In order to make caponata, it’s important to use high-quality canned tomatoes. San Marzano tomatoes offer more intense tomato flavors than their Roma counterparts and should be crushed more lightly before being processed in your food processor. If these cannot be found locally, substitute any good quality canned tomato instead.
While your eggplant is cooking, bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil in another large saucepan. Once your pasta has finished cooking, drain and reserve about one cup of its starchy cooking water; combine with eggplant sauce; add additional reserved cooking water as necessary if too thick for you to work with; pour into serving bowls before topping with parmesan cheese and torn basil leaves as garnish!