Obviously I’m Italian…err…Italian-American…American-Italian? Whatevs. You have probably read my blog long enough to know that my ancestors are from that boot.
So, accordingly…I love me some Italian food.
Not a big fan of pasta though. Can’t even remember when I last had it.
So, that probably makes me about 1% Italian because seriously? What kind of Italian doesn’t like pasta.
Maybe I should say I don’t like spaghetti…dear Lawd…who am I kidding?
I’d much rather have pizza or meatballs covered with sauce, Italian green beans, stuffed artichokes, and ummmm eggplant.
Eggplant should have been my middle name.
I love me the melanzane.
How’s that for Italian, eh?
Anyway, I have been day dreaming about my next vacation which will involve some beach in Italy.
Just haven’t decided where yet.
Hello, basil! One of my fave herbs.
We are totally making a pesto sauce here.
Ummm…totally dairy-free. You won’t even notice. Basil, spinach, arugula, etc. etc.
But the pesto sauce would be nothing without this simple roasted eggplant.
So tender, so savory, so simple.
I’ve thought about taking culinary classes on my trip to Italy.
Let me let you in on a little secret…I’m terrified that those voluptuous “Sophia Loren”, never aged a day, 60 year old nonna’s will chew me up, spit me out, and curse my Italian cuisine.
They would probably tell me to pack my bags and find the nearest McDonald’s.
News flash: haven’t eaten there in eternity.
But alas…I cannot fret because those are just my fears…doesn’t mean they will actually manifest themselves.
Seriously though, I would probably be bff’s with those cooking school women and find myself
knee deep in a bucket of homemade salted caramel gelato.
I do hope it’s true that every meal is eaten with a glass of wine.
Who wants to join me?
- For the eggplant:
- 2 large eggplants, cut crosswise into rounds
- extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
- fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- For the pesto:
- 1 c. freshly packed basil leaves
- 1 c. fresh spinach
- 1 c. fresh arugula
- 3 T. raw, unsalted almonds
- 3 cloves of garlic
- juice of 1 mandarin orange
- ¼ t. fine sea salt
- ¼-1/2 c. unsweetened, plain almond milk
- For the eggplant, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the eggplant rounds on the prepared baking sheets, brush each side of the eggplant rounds with the evoo, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until lightly golden on both sides. Flip the rounds halfway through the baking process.
- For the pesto sauce, place all of the ingredients except for the almond milk, in a large food processor.
- Process on high until a smooth paste forms.
- Then, with the food processor still running, slowly stream in the almond milk, starting with ¼ c. and gradually adding more until you reach your desired consistency.
- I used ½ c. which I felt created just a silky enough sauce that wasn't too drippy.
- Place about ½ to 1 tablespoon of the sauce on each eggplant round and stack them. I say about 2-3 stacks per person.
- Garnish with freshly chopped basil and sprinkle with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan if desired.