CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Eggplant-Mushroom Pasta Sauce

A person couldn’t do much better than a good homemade tomato sauce during times of health crises when eating at home may be one’s only option.

Cooked tomatoes are high in the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and other illnesses. And when put in a sauce with other vegetables such as nutritient-rich eggplant and protein- and vitamin D-laden mushrooms, you have a food source that’s high up on the health food scale.

The following tomato sauce recipe combines all three of those vegetables along with bell pepper, onion and garlic to form a large batch of sauce that is freezer-friendly as well as quite tasty.

I can think of nothing better to go with a nice plate of spaghetti while waiting out the pandemic storm.

Eggplant-Mushroom Pasta Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
2 pounds eggplant, peeled and cubed
8 cups tomatoes, peeled and cubed, or 2 28-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 2-ounce can anchovies, chopped
1 cup red wine
3 teaspoons capers
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
⅓ cup sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
In a very large kettle, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until the onion is soft. Add tomatoes, eggplant, bell pepper, tomato paste, basil, oregano, sugar, salt, pepper and wine; stir. Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over pasta with Mozzarella cheese.
Yield: 4 quarts.

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