- 1 large purple eggplant cut into rounds about 1/4” thick
- 14 ounces whole, peeled tomatoes or 4-6 fresh whole, peeled, seeded Roma tomatoes
- 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
- 1 Serrano pepper, whole
- 1 spaghetti squash cut in half length-wise
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp butter (optional)
- 1 ounce vodka
- Herbs: thyme, Italian basil, oregano to taste
- Sea salt
- Fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Arrabiata tomato sauce:
- In a well-seasoned iron skillet or saucier, sauté diced onion in olive oil (about a tablespoon) over medium-high heat. You may add a diced carrot as well, if you’d like.
- Add tomatoes, crushing with your hand as you add them to the pan. Allow tomatoes to carmelize.
- Toss in the whole Serrano pepper and let the sauce cook down (about 10-15 minutes).
- Add herbs and as much fresh ground pepper as you’d like, stir through.
- Add vodka, stir into sauce and allow to simmer on medium-high heat for several minutes. Vodka brings out the flavor of tomatoes nicely without imparting any flavors of it’s own like other alcohols could. You could also use red wine or brandy, however these will impart their own specific flavors. If you’re concerned about adding alcohol to the sauce, keep in mind that you are using a very small amount and the alcohol itself will cook off as you simmer the sauce.
- Once the sauce has thickened and darkened, remove the Serrano pepper and herb stems.
- Stir butter into sauce.
- Coat the flesh-side of the spaghetti squash halves with olive oil.
- Salt and pepper the halves as well.
- Lay flesh-side-down on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 40 minutes.
- While the sauce is cooking, brush eggplant rounds with olive oil.
- Add salt and pepper.
- In a hot skillet, brown the eggplant.
- In an oven-safe dish (e.g. a Pyrex pie dish), layer the arrabiata sauce and eggplant.
- Bake 15 - 20 minutes.
- Add parmesan as desired (in moderation).
- Bake for about 5 more minutes or until the cheese takes on color.
To serve, use a fork to coax the spaghetti-like strands from the squash to the plate then adorn with the baked eggplant and sauce.