I remember the first time my mom made eggplant parmesan. I wanted to hate it – but yet, I found myself loving it!
But here is my conundrum: does eggplant really have a flavor? Or is it like rhubarb? Where you cover it with other awesome flavors, making it the star + the outcome is, well, awesome.
Does that make sense?
Any-hoo. So far, the eggplant pairings I’ve been making have made eggplant look really, really good. That’s what I’m saying.
This post could alternatively be titled My love affair with Ina Garten’s recipes involving eggplant. She’s a rock star, and I’d like her to come live with us + cook for us always.
Okay. So the following recipe is tweaked from Ina’s Roasted Vegetable Orzo. I first made this recipe not having any orzo in my house, and now after making it *cough cough* a
few several times over the past few weeks, I’m digging it with israeli couscous way more than with Orzo.
- 1 small-medium eggplant [peeled and cubed]
- 2 bell peppers, I used red + yellow [diced]
- 1 onion [I've used sweet + red, it's great with either!]
- some olive oil
- some salt
- some pepper
- handful of pinenuts [toasted]
- 2 cups of dry israeli couscous [follow cooking instructions]
- 2 limes or lemons
- fresh basil
- yummy cheese
Make it happen:
Turn your oven to 400 convection or about 410-415 regular bake.
Begin with your peppers, onion + eggplant. I love this recipe because you can add what you have on hand: yellow squash? add it. Portobello mushroom? add it. Peel, chop and plop them in a mixing bowl. Drizzle it with some olive oil, some salt + pepper, and mix it up. I use about 1teaspoon of each, salt and pepper, but I also adore pepper. :)
Spread your veggies out on a baking sheet + pop in the oven! Now prop your feet up + wait for your house to smell amazing! I usually let them roast for about an hour….
When your vegetables are about halfway done, place your couscous in a pan to dry roast. I have, um, thrown out many-a-couscous by forgetting about them + walking away. Don’t do this. It ruins that lovely aroma of roasted vegetables and replaces it with charred pasta stuck to the bottom of your pan.
Add your water + some salt, or you can cook the couscous with broth: whichever you prefer!
Now, while the veggies + couscous are doing their thing, squeeze two lemons or limes [it's great with either one], add roughly 1/4 cup of olive oil. If you think you heavy-handed the oil on your roasted vegetables, then hold back on the dressing. You don’t want it slimy with oil. yuck. Add in about 1/2 teaspoon of salt + pepper. You can always add more, but making it too salty is just, well, gross.
Grab about 1/2 cup of pinenuts – or more if you can handle their ridiculous price tag…. and dry roast. Set them aside.
The fun part!
Place your couscous, veggies [with any oil and seasoning] into a bowl and mix together. Pour your dressing on top + mix well. Add in the pinenuts, top with some fresh basil + cheese. Feta is delicious, but I don’t typically have it on hand – so I use whatever I have!
Eat. Eat. Eat, eat, eat!! I love it hot, but it’s great cold as well!
Enjoy!! It’s a rainy + cold day here today, we’re enjoying cuddling on the couch with a lot of books! [and coffee! lots of coffee!]