I’m broke right now, not gonna lie. What with tattoo appointments, credit card and auto payments, yadda yadda – I’ll be living off a few bucks for the next… well, right now, day and a quarter. This “fucked” mentality rang true a couple days ago as well, though, when I was rustling through my pantry and fridge looking for meals to throw together to keep me sated through the week. Slim pickings, mostly. Some garlic, half a loaf of bread used for toast in the mornings as well as some multi-grain english muffins (white flour? No thanks), a couple tomatoes and… pasta. The love of my life/bane of my existence. Usually reserved for the colder months, when you want a comforting meal to accompany your robust merlot to sit and watch the New England snow fall and coat your yard, your driveway, your car, your abode, and yourself in your annoyingly mortal tomb day after day because what is this, Alaska?!
So, yeah. Pasta.
Sitting on the shelf, going unused. We’ve had a bit of a mild June, so why not? Use it up! I’ve got a few bucks to spare on some fresh veggies: eggplant, spinach and tomato with whole wheat rotini tossed in garlic and olive oil? Sure thing.
Market Basket, while a never-ending pain in the ass from when you enter those doors until you trudge, irate and offended, out of them is pretty much the place to go in the area if you’re short on cash and need to throw together a meal. Spinach and a small eggplant came to about $2, which I’m pretty sure is the least amount of money I’ve ever, EVER spent grocery shopping. Then a trip to the doctors, blah blah blah shoulder blah blah blah leave, pick up a bottle of wine ($9… worth it). Actually, let’s visit that area for a sec.
Don’t get me wrong – I love food. Like, a lot. I love cooking, I love being cooked for, I love baking, I love good restaurants, etc. But it is absolutely mandatory to pair what I’m eating with what I’m drinking. It’s kind of a chicken or the egg kind of thing in that sometimes one comes before the other. This was actually an occasion where the dish called for the drink, and so I obliged. Another example would be if I had leftover Jameson (pffft, as if) and/or gingerale and planned a meal around that. Badda-bing, BBQ tofu and kale cous-cous! Genius. This mentality and practice, however, will generally leave a graveyard of this capacity within a short amount of time:
So yeah, the pasta dish. It actually struck me the night before, and I texted a girlfriend of mine to come join me in trying it out. Which she did! We bounced around in my kitchen, listening to gratuitously catchy hip hop. Spinach juices were def splashed about to the tune of “I’m in Luv Wit a Stripper” (and yes, I know all the words to the original AND the remix thankyouverymuch). Wine was had, pasta was had, good times were had… and you best believe dancing got DID. As did watching at least one episode of Law and Order: SVU, a series which my guest had NEVER SEEN!!! Remedied immediately.
SO! Here’s my (kind of) recipe:
You will need:
Medium sized pot
3 cups uncooked whole wheat or multi grain rotini OR Penne
1 small eggplant – diced into small cubes
2-3 beefsteak (or whatevs medium sized kind, really) tomatoes diced, again, into small cubes
1 bag of baby spinach, chopped, and stems removed if desired
4-10 cloves of garlic (I love garlic, so the more the merrier… in my mouth) finely chopped.
Salt, Pepper, Basil, and Red Pepper flakes to taste PLUS olive oil to cook/coat with
Parmesan cheese optional
– Cube the eggplant and saute in a bit of olive oil on medium heat in the large pan until browned. Note: A lot of people like to soak the eggplant in salt/salt water for an hour or so and then rinse to drive out the bitterness, but I don’t feel that’s necessary for this recipe, but do what you want. Anyway, set aside when browned.
– Start the pasta by boiling the water in the pot… do I really need to tell you how to boil pasta? It’s on the box.
– Chop up the garlic and saute in olive oil on low heat in the pan you sautéed the eggplant in
– After the garlic has JUST started to brown, add the chopped spinach to wilt, again,on low heat.
– Once the spinach is fully wilted, add the chopped tomato as well as the eggplant and saute all together
– The pasta should be done, so strain, and add to the pan and toss.
You’ll probably end up getting a quarter of your would be meal all over your stove, because you better believe I did. If you didn’t, congrats! Add cheese if you want, grab your wine and chow down. I dare ya. You prob won’t hate it… and it’s totally your own fault if you do.