Recipe by labouchet
This is a regional Italian recipe for a "hot" pasta sauce - my favourite meatless tomato sauce. The addition of sweet pepper, ginger, and honey (traditional for that part of Italy) both complements and tempers the heat of the sauce. I prefer to make it with fresh hot peppers or paste, but I've included a "cheater" method using hot red pepper flakes. The addition of eggplant is also traditional, but optional - if you don't care for eggplant, just leave it out.
Top Review by Highland Lass
I adore Italian regional cooking and was blown away by this sauce (including the eggplant)! Although I went the cheater route, this sauce begs for fresh chili peppers. Thank you for posting this recipe!
- 2 -2 1⁄2 lbs fresh plum tomatoes, peeled,seeded,and pureed or 4 cups good quality canned tomatoes or 4 cups jarred italian tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced or 1 teaspoon fresh ginger paste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 -3 small hot chili peppers, minced or pureed or 1 -2 tablespoon fresh hot chili paste or 1 tablespoon red chili pepper flakes, soaked in 1 tbs boiling water for 10 minutes (more or less to taste)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped or pureed
- 1 sweet roasted red pepper, mashed or pureed (from jar is okay)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste or 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato paste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 -2 tablespoon fresh basil, minced
- 1 lb eggplant, peeled and cubed into bite sized pieces,soaked in water to cover with 2 tsp salt for 30 minutes (put plate on top to keep eggplant submerged)
- 1 clove garlic, whole (for eggplant saute)
- additional oil (for eggplant saute)
- 1⁄2 cup fresh Italian parsley, minced
- 1 lb penne or 1 lb other pastas, cooked al dente
Directions See How It's Made
- Put tomato puree in a heavy based pot to simmer, with the butter, ginger, and honey.
- In a small heavy saute pan, heat the oil, then add the hot chili (or paste or flakes).
- Add the garlic, sweet pepper, and tomato paste, and saute a few minutes, mashing mixture as you cook, being careful not to scorch it.
- Remove from heat and add to simmering tomatoes.
- Add oregano and basil, and taste for salt and black pepper.
- Also taste for heat quotient- if sauce isn't hot enough for your taste, add more hot chili now.
- Remember that the heat will temper a bit as the sauce cooks, and will be further diluted with the addition of the eggplant and pasta.
- Continue to simmer sauce, stirring occasionally, for 1 and 1/2 to 2 hours total cooking time.
- If using eggplant: Drain cubes after 30 minutes and rinse in colander.
- Lightly squeeze the cubes with your hands to remove moisture and pat dry with paper towel.
- Sprinkle some olive oil on your hands and toss the cubes, coating them with the oil- this initial coating helps prevent the eggplant from absorbing too much oil in the saute pan.
- Heat saute pan, add some oil to coat bottom, and add the whole garlic clove.
- When clove sizzles, swirl it in pan, and then add eggplant.
- Saute on high heat, tossing frequently, until golden.
- Add cooked eggplant to sauce in the final 15 minutes of cooking, along with the parlsey.
- Serve over cooked pasta.