Just sitting here jamming to Sara Bareilles. Does anyone else love her as much as I do? Baby’s asleep and I’m just typing and jamming… feels like college again.
Good old days when I use to “study” in the library lounging in my oversized University of Rhode Island Tennis sweats with my headphones, eating sour patch kids, drinking dunking donuts and pretending to read/understand business law. Good times.
Sara’s songs bring me back to good times and what I use to think were bad times. If you’ve never heard the song Gravity, listen to it. It’s amazing. For some reason it always makes me cry.
Comfort listening needs a little comfort food. Tomato and eggplant sauce or Salsa alla Norma = Comfort food heaven. Roasting small pieces of eggplant in the oven at high heat makes these little purple veggie morsels soft as silk. Then slowly simmered with tomato, this is a sauce that has texture, depth and is uber satisfying. Plus you won’t even notice there is no meat in it!
Hand me some crusty bread, parmesan cheese, a bowl of salsa alla Norma and a big glass of merlot and I am all set for the evening. Ok maybe throw in some dark chocolate for dessert 😉
Salsa alla Norma (tomato and eggplant sauce)
Tomato and eggplant sauce or Salsa alla Norma is the definition of comfort food. With 5 simple real ingredients you can create a rich velvety eggplant tomato sauce that will feed your belly and soul. Perks: sauce freezes well, it can be served with different things (pasta, polenta, bread, quinoa), its gluten free, it can be vegan be swapping out the parmesan cheese, and it’s just plain DELICOIUS.
- 1 large or 2 small eggplants, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
- 7 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 yellow onion, minced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes (San Marzano are the best!), undrained and crushed by hand*
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- A few fresh basil leaves if available
Heat oven to 500°. Mix eggplant in a bowl with 4 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer eggplant to 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Bake until soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Give the baking sheets a good shake halfway thru. Set aside.
Heat remaining oil over medium heat in a large a Dutch oven or large skillet. Add onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 7-10 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and garlic and cook, stirring, until garlic softens, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, season with salt, and simmer over medium low heat for 7 minutes.
Add roasted eggplant to tomato sauce and simmer for another 10 minutes. Lastly throw in some fresh torn basil leaves if you have some on hand and a good amount of parmesan.
Pour sauce over pasta (spaghetti, bucatini, penne), quinoa, cheesy polenta, or just eat it with hearty crusty bread. Add a bit more parmesan goodness and pair with your favorite red wine. Et Voila! (I know that’s French but it works here)
*Notes: I am lazy and use scissors to cut up the whole tomatoes in the can. Then use the back of a wooden spoon to smoosh the tomatoes some more while cooking in the sauce. You could also use crushed tomatoes if you prefer a smoother tomato sauce.