When staring down an abundance of late summer produce from your garden, do like Mona Talbott, executive chef at the Sustainable Food Project in Rome: make a delizioso soup. Here’s Talbott’s recipe from her new book Zuppe.
Roasted Eggplant & Tomato Soup
4½ pounds purple globe eggplant
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 medium red onions, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt, to taste
8 ripe tomatoes, diced
3 basil sprigs, chopped
3 mint sprigs, chopped
Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and lay them skin side up on a baking sheet lined with lightly oiled parchment paper. Roast at 375˚F until soft and collapsing, about 1 hour.
Combine olive oil, onions, garlic and red pepper flakes along with a generous pinch of salt in a 5-quart pot over medium-low heat. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes and cook for 30–45 minutes, until the tomatoes are tender and broken down.
When the eggplant is cool, scoop out the flesh and chop it. Discard the skins. Add the eggplant to the pot along with 1½ quarts of water. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Transfer half the soup to a large bowl. Using a hand blender, purée the soup remaining in the pot until smooth. Add the soup from the bowl back to the pot and stir. Add the mint and basil and cook for 10 more minutes. Serve cool or at room temperature. Top with Parmesan flakes. Serves 6–8.
Pair it: Talbott recommends a bold Cesanese del Piglio. It will harmonize well with the tomato, garlic and spice, allowing the sweetness of the roasted eggplant to shine.