I found a very nice recipe for an eggplant and tomato sauce on Lidia's Italy this fall. I made and canned a batch over the weekend, and it is a generous amount, but cans great (simple water bath, since there is no meat, process for 40 minutes).
It's called Slow-Cooked Summer Tomato and Eggplant Sauce (http://tinyurl.com/yjobsqn
) that I found when searching http://www.lidiasitaly.com/
. And it really is slow cooked; even with the more than two hours she suggests in the recipe, I simmered so it would reduce for more like 3 1/2 hours. She says it makes about 3 quarts of sauce, but I ended up with 5. I was using a a big can of tomatoes (6 pounds, her recipe calls for 5) and I used four good-sized eggplants. I have 12 1/2 pint jars and four pints, and about a half-pint in a container in the fridge to eat this week.
5 pounds ripe plum tomatoes
1 1/2 pounds firm eggplants
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cups finely clopped onions, about 1 1/4 pounds
1/4 cup finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon peperoncino (or to your taste)
3 or 4 large branches of fresh basil with leaves
8-quart dutch oven or saucepan, with cover, is needed.
These are her instructions:
Prepare the tomatoes for sauce. Trim and peel the eggplants.Cut them lengthwise in 3/4-inch wide slices, stack the slices and cut them into 3/4-inch wide strips, then chop into 3/4-inch chunks.
Following the procedures for â€œInitial SautÃ©â€ in the main recipe, stir together the oil, the onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the saucepan. Cook for 5 or 6 minutes, add the garlic and let it caramelize it in a â€œhot spot,â€ then stir in a couple tablespoons of water and cook the onions and garlic together for a minute or two.
Now pour the eggplant pieces into the pan, sprinkle on 1 teaspoon salt, and turn to coat the pieces with the oil and sautÃ©ed onion and garlic. Cook over low-medium heat, uncovered, stirring and turning the eggplant frequently. If the pan gets dry and the pieces start to brown, stir in several spoons of water; lower the heat if needed.
Cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until the eggplant chunks are very soft, almost mushy, but still retain their shape. Pour in the prepared tomatoes and juices, rinse the tomato bowl with 2 or 3 cups water and pour it into the pan (the eggplant needs the additional liquid). Sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, the peperoncino and stir to blend everything together. Submerge the basil branches in the sauce, cover the pan and raise the heat to medium.
When the sauce reaches the boil, lower the heat to keep an active simmer and cook, covered, for 40 minutes or so. The eggplant should now be broken down and melting into the tomatoes.
Uncover the pan and let the sauce bubble gently and gradually reduce. Stir carefully as it thickens, to make sure the eggplant doesnâ€™t stick to the pan bottom, lower the heat if necessary. Cook uncovered for a total of 45 minutes to an hour, until the sauce has the consistency you like, then turn off the heat. Pull out the basil before using, and store as in the main recipe.The only mystery here is 'what is the main recipe?' I don't know what else this was meant to go with, but by itself it's a great sauce for anything you would use regular tomato sauce for. That's how I intend to use it.