Cold winter days call for healthy meals to brave any snow and icy rains that come our way. That doesn’t mean endless bowls of chili, soups or dull winter meals of root veggies and random meat concoctions. One good alternative is an easy one skillet dish filled with eggplant, prosciutto, roasted red peppers and pasta liberally coated in cheeses.
Start with your pasta. Select whatever is your favorite – mine is always the minifarfalle [bowties]. Cook in salted water with a tablespoon of oil until almost done and set aside. While the pasta cooks, cut up a medium eggplant into bite-size chunks. I remove most of the skin which can be chewy and a bit bitter for me. Place on a cookie sheet with non-stick aluminum foil while adding olive oil, pepper and salt. Roast at 425 degrees for about twenty minutes and set aside.
Now for the “sauce.” In a large [twelve inch] skillet, heat olive oil or any other you prefer and butter. Add a cup of chopped onions and three cloves of diced garlic, stirring frequently over medium heat until the onions are softened and translucent. Toss in your roasted eggplant and add oil if it appears dry. Chop up some roasted red peppers [I use the jarred variety rather than roasting them myself] and about three to five ounces of chopped prosciutto – more of this strongly seasoned meat and it will overwhelm all the other ingredients – pepper and red pepper flakes for a little spice.
Once these have warmed through [about ten minutes], there are several ways to serve this hearty prosciutto and eggplant dish. Either mix your cooked pasta into the skillet or simply spoon your “sauce” over the pasta. Add plenty of Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses to complete an easy winter dish that has be-come one of my standard favorites.
–Photo and story by Dick Funderburke