First Recipe of the Year: Spicy Eggplant Pasta

I made my first recipe of the year last night— spicy eggplant pasta. One of my New Year’s resolutions this year is to cook more. Although this recipe was quite simple, I made some rookie mistakes that I’ll be sure to fix the next time I make it.

First things first — the recipe is from FOOD52: recipe link here.

Why I chose it: I love pasta, this recipe looked pretty easy, and didn’t require any appliances. Since I’m a beginner cook, I don’t have food appliances such as a food processor. I’ll save purchasing that once I start cooking more!

My takeaways on the dish: It was really good and, happily, easy to make. That said, here’s what I learned:

  1. When simmering something, it’s a good idea to keep a lid ajar on the sauce pan. I know it sounds silly, but I initially left the sauce pan uncovered and the onions took a bit longer than expected to soften. Once the temperature is maintained at just below boiling, you can remove the lid and stir occasionally.

  2. Cooking pasta al dente, follow the instructions on the package. When draining it, don’t rinse it with cold water. I used to always rinse pasta. Turns out, if you just drain it, add a little olive oil, and immediately add the sauce to it, the starchiness of the pasta is maintained and you get a really yummy, chewy consistency.

  3. Unless you like super spicy food, I’d reduce the chili flakes in this recipe by 25% or so. I love spice, but 2 teaspoons turned out to be just a little too spicy in my opinion.

  4. Try toasted pine nuts. I might try toasted pine nuts with this next time to add some flavorful crunch.

I’ll definitely make this again. It was tasty and easy to make. Even better, I have confidence to try a slightly more advanced recipe next time :)