Few dishes are more comforting than a rich, meaty ragout draped over chewy-tender ribbons of fresh pasta. This dish achieves that—minus the actual meat. Ingredients like tomato paste and black olives add tons of umami. The anchovy kicks that up a notch, but if you’re serving non-fish eaters, the dish is still good without it.
- 1 medium (12 ounce) eggplant, cut into ½-inch dice
- Kosher salt, divided, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1 anchovy fillet (optional)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ cup fruity red wine
- ½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 3 tablespoons chopped black olives
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup microgreens
- Black pepper, to taste
Spread eggplant cubes in even layer. Sprinkle salt over top.
In large skillet, warm olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic, anchovy and tomato paste. Cook, stirring and breaking up anchovy until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add eggplant and herbs, and stir to coat. Add wine and stock. Let simmer until eggplant is very tender, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring well-salted pot of water to boil. Cook pappardelle until al dente, about 2–3 minutes for fresh pasta. Reserve ½ cup pasta water, and drain pasta. Divide among 4 plates.
Stir olives and vinegar into ragù. Thin with pasta water, if desired. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon ragù over pasta. Top with microgreens just before serving. Serves 4.
Donnachiara 2012 Taurasi. “Taurasi is a classic pairing for rich, meaty dishes. In place of the meat in this case all the deep flavors from the eggplant, tomato and garlic will stand up nicely and complement this wonderful, full-bodied wine. Notes of dark fruit, like blackberry and black cherry will balance the anchovy and herbs well, while not overpowering the dish.” —Ian Toogood, sommelier, Bar Cotto, Stamford, CT.