Updated: Sep 18
Although the weather is still hot, fall is just around the corner and today we're welcoming the highlight of our summer garden. As much as we are enjoying the tomatoes in our panzanella we are thrilled about the successful harvest of Rosa Bianca, an heirloom eggplant with a crisp outer skin and creamy white inside. Plump and round with a light pink-violet white exterior, mild taste and delicate flavor, they are special.
They can be fried or made into a caponata but do not require the usual salting as they lack the bitterness found in other varieties. One of our favorite ways to prepare it is to cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch slices, lightly coat both sides of the eggplant with olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper and grill on medium heat until slightly charred. Flip and repeat. The interior should be soft and translucent with a slightly charred outside.
Another great way to prepare this eggplant is to roast it and serve warm as a side dish or marinated as part of an antipasto or salad because it has a minimal amount of seeds. First trim off the stem and blossom ends and then cut the eggplant lengthwise into thick wedges or crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Salt the pieces and toss on an oiled baking sheet or shallow pan. Lay the pieces flat on the pan and then oil the upper side. Bake in a 400°F oven for 20 to 35 minutes
depending on the size of the wedges or slices. The eggplant is done when it is soft all over and brown on the underside. Serve right away, or dress with wine vinegar, slices of garlic, chopped herbs, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and fresh-ground black pepper and serve at room temperature.
This heirloom eggplant would make an eye catching ingredient in Pasta alla Norma, an iconic Sicilian eggplant-centric pasta dish. A robust, savory tomato sauce pasta studded with roasted eggplant cubes and fresh basil.The best pasta shapes for the sauce are tubular rigatoni or spiral fusilli or serve as a side dish by itself with a warm chunky piece of rustic Italian bread.
Recipe for Pasta alla Norma
2 small Rosa Bianca eggplants 1 bottle Segreti di Sicily Ready Organic Cherry Tomato Sauce 1 small heirloom tomato chopped 1/4 cup chopped parsley Salt and pepper 2 garlic cloves, minced 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 tbsp dried oregano or 1 tsp fresh 1-2 Fresno chiles, seeded and thinly sliced 1 pound Kamut Monograno Felicetti Fusilli Pasta Ricotta salata for garnish Parsley for garnish
Trim off the stem and blossom ends and then cut the eggplant lengthwise into thick wedges or crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Salt the pieces and toss on an oiled baking sheet or shallow pan. Lay the pieces flat on the pan and then oil the upper side. Bake in a 400°F oven for 20 to 35 minutes. Set aside.
In a sauté pan on medium-high heat, add olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, chiles, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, continuously stirring to prevent sticking, about 10 minutes. Add eggplant and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add chopped parsley and chopped heirloom tomato. While sauce is simmering, cook pasta in rapidly boiling, heavily salted water. Drain, reserving some cooking liquid, and add pasta into sauce with a tablespoon of pasta water. Cook over low until pasta is coated, adding more pasta water if necessary to thin sauce. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with fresh parsley and crumbled ricotta salata.