* This dish can be served warm, cold or at room temperature. It can be served as an appetizer as a dip with pita chips or baked bread or it can also be served as a side dish or salad. I chose to make my Caponata as a side dish. I have had Caponata that is really sweet and those have not been my favorites. My Caponata has a tiny bit of sweetness, but it does not overwhelm the other wonderful flavors of tomato, eggplant and basil at all.
- 4 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and then sliced thin
- 3/4 cup sliced kalamata olives and italian green olives
- 2 TB. capers, rinsed and drained
For the Sauce:
- 35 oz. can Italian roma/plum tomatoes, drained
- 2 garlic cloves - cleaned, but left whole
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. dried basil or 1 tsp. fresh chopped basil
- 1 TB. balsamic vinegar
- Crush tomatoes in a bowl with your hand - set aside.
- Saute garlic and oil in a saucepan over low heat turning often until garlic turns a golden color - about 8 minutes. Disgard garlic, but keep oil in the saucepan.
- Stir in tomatoes, sugar, basil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
- Simmer, uncovered, stirring often, until sauce has reduced a bit and become thicker - about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Drizzle olive oil over the cut ends of the eggplant. Roast eggplant in a 375 degree oven - cut side down - about 20 minutes. Remove eggplant from oven and let cool. The eggplant should be soft, but not mushy. At this time you can remove the skin from the eggplant. Cut the eggplant in 2 inch pieces and place in a large bowl.
- In the meantime saute the sliced celery ribs in about 1 TB. of olive oil. Saute for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add celery to the eggplant.
- Add sliced olives and capers to the vegetables. Add 1 TB. olive oil to vegetables along with the tomato sauce. Stir well. Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste. Cover bowl and place in fridge until ready to serve. This dish can be made a day ahead of time.
ORECCHIETTE WITH FRESH MOZARELLA, GRAPE TOMATOES, AND GARLIC CHIVES
- 1 lb. orecchiette pasta
- 1 lb. pea sized mozarella
- 1 lb. grape tomatoes in assorted colors, halved
- 6 TB. extra virgin olive oil
- 3 TB. white balsamic vinegar
- 3 TB. minced fresh garlic chives
- 2 TB. minced fresh oregano
- salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste.
- Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until aldente.
- Drain well and return pasta to pot. Add mozarella, tomatoes and remaining ingredients; toss to blend evenely. Season to taste with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.
- Cover and place in fridge until ready to serve.