Last month we travelled to Jersey City with some friends for a wedding. We had a few hours to kill before the main event and we decided we would do a little sight seeing in the Big Apple. Leave it to me to squeeze in a walk through Times Square, Broadway, Rockefeller Center, the Empire State building and Bryant park - all before noon. (Vacationing with me is anything but relaxing. 😅) When you only have an afternoon to take in all the sights of New York City - you have to move fast. 🤣🤣👟
It just so happened that we stumbled on the most amazing little restaurant in all of Little Italy. We chose it based solely on the darling little trattoria set up on the edge of the bustling street. We had no idea that the experience that we were about to embark upon would be an unforgettable memory.
The owner/hostess/waitress/sommelier/manager, which we later discovered was named Carmella, curtly instructed us where to sit, promptly handed each of us a menu and snapped at a waiter who quickly poured a glass of water for each of us. After several minutes, Carmella returned to our table and instead of taking our orders, she unapologetically assigned a meal to each one of us. In most cases, it wasn't the dish that we would have chosen but quite honestly, she spoke with such authority that we were afraid to question her choices. 🤣
When Carmella left our table, we had absolutely no idea what food was going to appear in front of us but we felt confident that it was going to be delicious. 🍝 Our assumptions were correct. The had the amazing eggplant parmesan dish and as if that wasn't enough, I also devoured a slice of someone else's pizza. 🍕🤣 I'm not sure I have the words to adequately describe the meal but let's just say - Carmella knew exactly what she was doing - right down to the 2 bottles of wine that she chose to accompany our lunch. 😅
Roasted eggplant is my go-to an any Italian restaurant. I love the flavor of the silky vegetable and I'm always trying to incorporate new ways to make it at home. This Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Eggplant recipe is really amazing. The sweetness of the tomatoes, the earthyness of the eggplant and the bright fresh basil really go so well together. I'm not as bold as Carmella but if I were to recommend a pasta dish for eggplant lovers - it might just be this one. 😉
Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Eggplant
1 pound pasta
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 pounds eggplant, peeled and shredded
6 garlic cloves, sliced thin
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 cup oil packed sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
3/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
Add pasta and toss to coat.
Serve with parmesan cheese.
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