This week, my recipe was Eggplant Sauce with Tomato and Red Chili Pepper. When I looked through the recipe, the first thing I noticed is that you fry the eggplant. I rarely fry anything, so I can't say I was too excited about this step.
The recipe referred me to another recipe in the book that explains the proper way to prepare and fry eggplant. There are two important steps worth noting: 1.To salt the sliced eggplant and let it drain, taking away any bitterness that the eggplant might have and 2. To have the oil very hot, so that the eggplant doesn't absorb any more of the oil than needed. This method produced a very flavorful eggplant that I'm sure you wouldn't get from sauteing. The flavor could be described as smokey.
There are not a lot of ingredients in the sauce-eggplant, olive oil, garlic, parsley, tomatoes, and chili pepper. But the flavor you get from these few ingredients is really a surprise. My husband thought there had to be anchovies or some other mysterious ingredient that added to the complexity of the sauce. I think it was the fried eggplant that added the special flavor.
Marcella suggested this pasta sauce be served on spahettini pasta, a thin dried pasta. That's what I used, and it was perfect.