I had a super sexy aubergine (eggplant) eyeballing me in my fridge. It was whispering to me, "Cook me, lady! You know you want it." I did.
I went out and got some fantastic smoked ham and some lovely local shrimp. I knew that this would go beautifully with the aubergine because I remember how delicious it was whenever my grandmother, Gloria Boutte, would prepare this dish.
This is what you're going to need:
1 large, 2 medium or 5-6 small aubergine
1 medium red onion
1 medium shallot
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh basil leaves or 1 tbsp dried
1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs, divided
400gr peeled, de-veined shrimp
1-1/2 cups smoked ham, cubed
1 stalk celery, sliced thinly
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 bag pappardelle pasta or fettuccine if you prefer.
Red pepper flakes
1 tsp sugar
Peel the aubergine and cut into thick cubes.
Squeeze lemon juice over the aubergine and sprinkle with salt. this will stop it from oxidizing while you prepare the other ingredients.
In a frying pan drizzle olive oil over medium high heat. Add minced garlic, diced red onion and shallots and the cubed smoked ham. Saute until the onion become transparent.
Add the aubergine and the remainder of your veggies.
Drop basil leaves on on top, sprinkle generously with salt, a bit more olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes. Turn the heat down to medium and cover. Let it cook, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.
Add the can of tomatoes and the teaspoon of sugar. Stir well, turn the heat to low and let it simmer for another 10 minutes, covered.
Remove from the heat, stir in shrimp, half of your breadcrumbs and cover. The heat will cook your shrimp. Uncover after 5-7 minutes and let it cool for about 10-15 minutes.
Put the mixture into a baking dish and heat your oven to 195C. Sprinkle the remainder of your breadcrumbs over the top and then sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese over that.
Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 minutes more until the cheese is golden.
Prepare the pasta according to package directions. I like to use the wide, lovely pappardelle noodles because they handle the heavy ingredients of this dish so well.
This dish is great for a weekend family dinner but it's also a beautiful dish to serve at a dinner party.
Now, go cook, eat and start a revolution!!