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It was that scene in the kitchen on The Godfather, when “Fat Pete” Clemenza (Richard S. Castellano)  was teaching Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) how to cook what looked like spaghetti and meatballs , that I suddenly got the craving. I could almost taste the tomatoes, the garlic, the Italian sausages and meatballs. But I knew we didn’t have Italian sausages and it would, roughly, be a 30-minute drive to the deli…something that I was not prepared to make in my pyjamas.

Looking at what I have in the fridge and pantry I found penne pasta, eggplant, bacon, garlic and canned tomatoes…perfect! I can make another one of may all time favourite quick eats…Penne Siciliana. I learned this dish from an Italian friend some years back…below is the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Penne pasta – I cooked the whole packet, which was about 500 grams, left overs are great for breakfast the following day.
  • half a cup of olive oil
  • 1 medium sized eggplant – if using the Lebanese variety, maybe about 2-3 medium-sized ones.
  • 3 to 4 slices of fatty bacon
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped roughly – don’t be shy with the garlic…it keeps nasties at bay.
  • 2 to 3 bird eye chillies – if using the Thai variety, which is way much hotter, use only about 1 or 2…but depends how spicy you want it. Although too much takes the pleasure out of experiencing the rich tomato goodness of the sauce.
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • half a cup of dry red wine – use the left over from the night before.
  • 1 can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • half a bottle of Italian Passata sauce
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh or dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parmesan cheese to serve

Method:

  1. Boil lots of water in a stock pot, about 3/4 full. Put about 1 tablespoon of salt then chuck your penne pasta in. Do not cover the pot! It will take about 8-10 minutes to get the al dente consistency.
  2. While the pasta is boiling, heat the olive oil on a large pan that is enough to accommodate the pasta later.
  3. Fry the eggplant until golden brown. Take the eggplant out of the pan and set aside. Leave the olive oil on the pan.
  4. Bring the pan back to the heat. Fry the bacon until it turns slightly brown. You don’t want this to be crispy.
  5. Put the garlic in the pan with the bacon and fry for about a minute or until the garlic changes colour. Do not overcook the garlic.
  6. Put the chilli and parsley in. Fry for about 30 seconds.
  7. Deglaze the pan by pouring the wine in…make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan for that flavourful goodness. Reduce to about half of the liquid
  8. Put the canned tomatoes in. Roughly crush the tomatoes using a fork then put the tomato paste
  9. After about 2 minutes put the fried eggplant, Italian Passata and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to your desired taste. Reduce the heat and let this simmer for about 5 minutes while you prepare the pasta.
  10. By this time your penne should be cooked. Drain using a colander. Put all the pasta in the pan with the sauce. Mix to fully coat the pasta. Adjust salt and pepper to desired taste. Do this for about a minute then turn off the stove. You are ready to serve!

Scoop about 2 to 3 ladle-full into a pasta bowl, sprinkle it with freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve it with crusty bread and butter. Perfect to eat in front of the TV while watching your favourite mob movie. Enjoy!

Ducky

Author Ducky

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