eggplant

Roasted Eggplant~Feta Ravioli w/Homemade Tomato~Basil Sauce… The "Cheaters" Version {shhh, no one will ever know!}

A fancy din-din made simply… never a bad thing in my book.
I actually don’t do pasta much, but man when I do, it’s undeniably delicious.  So when I picked this plethora of goodies from my mom’s garden recently, I knew some sort of treat was going to be in store.  Pasta it was.
With makings like this- eggplant, squash, tomato, basil, and peppers- something deliciously Mediterranean simply had to go down.
For those of you who enjoy spending time in the kitchen and/or have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen, making your own pasta is quite easy and simple.  You just need the time.  I have done it on several occasions… always delicious.  I previously thought making pasta would be hard, but raviolis are actually quite simple.  Here’s a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens to try if you’d like (recipe here).  But for those who are walking in the door from a busy day with hardly even a second to think about dinner, some easy cheating might appeal to you.  Which is exactly why I used wonton wrappers for this.  Not only was I tired from work myself, but I wanted to show how an easy “cheat” can produce some mighty tasty results.

Yep you read that right… wonton wrappers.  They make a great little ravioli.  Of course if we were to compare, not much stands up to a fresh pasta dough… but, we aren’t all Ina Gartens (though I sure do wish sometimes) and some of us just need a little helping hand sometimes :)  While nothing beats fresh, for taste and nutrition’s sake, the pre-made ones really don’t contain much different than what goes into making them from scratch (I suppose this depends on the brand, etc), so while not ideal for being “real-made-from-scratch-food” they’re certainly good enough when it comes to needing a tasty dinner to impress without all the hassle. :)
It doesn’t matter what kind of tomatoes or eggplant you use… I had these, so I used them.  I do enjoy Japanese eggplant and heirloom tomatoes a lot, but I am always a fan of keeping life simple and using what is easy to find… so if you have these, fabulous, if not, improvising will work, too.   (If you are going to switch it up, plan on needing about 1 cup of chopped eggplant, regardless of the variety used.)
Here’s a link on Amazon for wonton wrappers if you can’t find them near you, but they can be found in  many grocery stores, as well —> http://amzn.to/16fc8BH
Serves 2 large portions
INGREDIENTS
for the sauce…
6-8 tomatoes, mixed variety is fine
4 garlic cloves
a few fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp herbs de Provence
1 tbsp olive oil
for roasting…
3 Japanese eggplant
1/8 tsp salt, plus more for “sweating”
1/8 tsp black pepper
for the ravioli…
1/2 cup chopped onion (yellow or white)
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled or roughly chopped
1 cup roasted eggplant, from above
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
drizzle olive oil
wonton wrappers or ravioli pasta dough (recipe here)
small bowl of water, to seal dough
fresh basil leaves and Parmesan cheese
DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Prior to roasting the eggplant, it should “sweat” to
release any extra bitterness and moisture
(Sweating occurs by placing salt on it, allowing it to release
excess moisture- steps are shown below)
Begin by cutting the eggplant in half lengthwise
Lay them in a colander or other breathable surface and sprinkle generously with salt
Let them sit for at least 20 minutes to sweat
(you can begin preparing the tomato sauce during this time)
You should notice that moisture is building on the eggplant… that’s the “sweat” ;)
Then rinse the eggplant very well with water
You want to get all of salt and bittery moisture/sweat off
Lay the eggplant on a baking sheet, drizzle with some olive oil,
and sprinkle with 1/8 tsp salt and pepper
Roast for about 15 minutes, until the eggplant is cooked through and soft
Now for the tomato sauce…
Bring a pot of water to a boil
Using a sharp knife, cut an “X” on the
bottom of each tomato- this will help the skin come off easier after boiling
Add the tomatoes to the water and boil for about 3 minutes
Remove the tomatoes from the pot, rinse with cool water, and then gently remove the skins (you will notice that the skins will be pretty loose after 3 minutes of boiling, but using the “X” to peel back the skin allows for a clean and easier removal process)
Chop the tomatoes in half
(If you do not like seeds, you can use your fingers to scrape out the seeds- it’s quite easy and quick- but if you don’t mind them in the sauce, just keep them in… I usually leave them in myself)
Peel the garlic cloves and clean the basil
In a small pot (I use the same one I cook the tomatoes in, but clean it out first- helps with dishes in the end!),
heat about 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat
Then add the garlic cloves and fresh basil leaves
Allow them to cook in the hot oil for about 3 minutes, until lightly golden brown
Remove them from the oil and set aside to use later (even though they are used to infuse the oil, we will not be wasting those treasures!)
Add the tomatoes to the oil along with the salt and pepper
Use a fork to gently mash up the tomatoes while they cook
Add the herbs de Provence
Let cook uncovered for about 10 minutes and then reduce heat to low and let keep warm until you’re ready to serve the ravioli
It will thicken a bit as it cooks down…
Now time for the filling…
Finely chop the onion
Add a drizzle of olive to a pan over medium heat (about 1 tbsp or so is good)
Add the onion along with the salt and pepper
Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, until fragrant and turning translucent
Remember that eggplant you roasted?
Time for that…
Give the roasted eggplant a rough chop
Remember that garlic and basil?  I told you that wasnt’ going to waste!
Give that a rough chop, too
Add the eggplant, garlic and basil to the onion
Stir and let it all cook together for about 5 more minutes
Transfer the eggplant mixture into a mixing bowl
Give the feta a rough chop, if not already crumbled
Add the feta to the eggplant
(Some will soften and melt since the eggplant is warm- totally fine!)
Stir together to mix well
Taste and adjust seasonings as desired
On a dry cutting board to other surface, lay out the wonton
wrappers or ravioli dough cut into square pieces
Using a tablespoon or melon baller, scoop up some of the mix
(I find 1 tbsp to be perfect)
Place a dollop of mixture onto the center of each square
You don’t want the mixture to be near the outside of the square because
 it will block the dough from sealing… you want it just in the centers
Place another square on top of the filling, lining up the corners as well as you can
Using your finger, cover the edges of the
bottom square with water- I do one ravioli at a time
Then lay the upper square over it and use a fork to seal the edges
Press down pretty hard to get a nice tight seal,
being careful not to puncture the center dough where the filling is
(it has the chance of coming out during the boiling if there are holes)
Keep going until you have them all sealed
Heat a large pot of generously salted water until boiling (1/2 tsp salt or so should be good)
Gently add the ravioli to the boiling water and let cook for about 5 minutes, until soft
Okay, ready to serve!
Scoop some warm sauce into bowls or onto plates,
depending on how you’re serving them
Then lay a few ravioli over the sauce
Drizzle a bit more sauce over the ravioli, as desired
Chop up some fresh basil leaves for garnish…
you may want to leave some whole also, just for looks :)
Then top the ravioli off with some fresh basil and Parmesan cheese
Enjoy!!

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About Me

Hi, I'm Natalie! I like to cook, eat, and adventure. I live in a little home with an itty-bitty kitchen, a crazy feline, and a very hungry boyfriend. Lots of cooking and devouring goes down here. Farmer's markets inspire me, as do the seasons and travel. I create simple recipes using wholesome real food. Enjoy!

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