Pasta with Sauce and Eggplant

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large eggplant partially peeled and cubed (partially peel the eggplant in stripes)

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup of water (room temp)

1.5 tbsp tomato paste

2 (28 ounce) can kitchen ready tomatoes,

3 fresh basil leaves

salt & pepper

Sautee Garlic
On medium-high heat, saute minced garlic, in 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, until the color is translucent.
Try to not brown or burn the garlic. If you end up doing so, you’ll have to start over with new oil.
sautee eggplant
Once the garlic is translucent, add in the cubed eggplant.
Eggplant acts like a sponge, and will soak in all the oil, quickly add in the 1/4 cup of water.
Cover. Let simmer until the eggplant is tender and has changed to a more brownish color. 
crushed tomatoes and eggplant
Add in 2 cans of kitchen ready crushed tomatoes.
Personally, I prefer using the homemade crushed tomatoes my mother makes, but I didn’t have them handy today.
Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Adding Tomato Paste
Add 1.5 tbsp of tomato paste.
Once you have stirred the tomato paste in, it’s melted,  cover and let the sauce simmer on medium-low heat for 25 minutes. Stirring occasionally.  Though, like with most sauces, the longer the better.
At this point you can start to boil water for your pasta.  This way by the time your sauce is done your pasta will be ready. 
Add in the salt and pepper to your taste here.  Then turn down the sauce to low and add in the basil.  
Turn off the heat, and by now your pasta is fully cooked and ready to strain. 
Not Pasta Alla Norma
The finished product!
Serve with a sprinkle of pecorino Romano cheese on top.
Tonight we paired this with a simple salad of greens, topped with warmed porcini mushrooms, and, a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau 2012.
 
Buon Apetito! 
xoxo

Hope you enjoy making this dish as much as eating it!

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