The eggplants are coming in fast and furious. That means the brain has to get working – I can only eat so much caponata. Coming up with ideas for food is fun – and making several of those ideas is even more fun!

Idea the first is frying up cutlets.

Idea the second is a tomato and eggplant sauce – using tomatoes from the yard.

Idea the third is a pork and eggplant meatball.

The end result was Idea the second and Idea the third becoming dinner. Idea the first was portioned and frozen.

I put two eggplants into the oven at 350°F/180°C for about 90 minutes. The other one I peeled and sliced.

The cutlets:

Nothing unusual, here… flour, egg, breadcrumbs, fry.

Eggplant Cutlets

I added Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset spice blend to the bread crumbs. It’s an Italian herb blend that works well in place of the more traditional Italian Seasoning.

Into the skillet…

Eggplant Cutlets

Onto a sheet pan, and then into the freezer. When they were solid, I portion-packed them and back to the freezer they went.

Next, we have the Tomato and Eggplant Sauce

A very basic sauce. Into the blender went chopped tomatoes – unpeeled – along with garlic and one lone hot pepper. Into the pot went olive oil and chopped onion, and then the tomato puree – along with a cup of red wine – Sangiovese, if anyone’s keeping track.

Next went the roasted eggplant that I scraped out of its shell. Salt, pepper, more of the Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset… and the soaking liquid from assorted dried mushrooms I used in the meatballs. I then let it simmer and thicken. The single pepper really knocked it up a notch! Just enough spice to be interesting! It came out pretty good.

Eggplant Tomato Sauce

And then the Pork and Eggplant Meatballs

These came out really good. They are more eggplant than pork – not a traditional meatball – but they have a great flavor! The texture is a lot lighter than a traditional meatball and the flavor is outstanding!

Pork and Eggplant Meatballs

Pork and Eggplant Meatballs

  • 1 eggplant, roasted
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 oz assorted dried muchrooms
  • 3 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • parsley
  • mint
  • oregano
  • 2 oz freshly grated Locatelli/pecorino
  • salt and pepper

Rehydrate mushrooms. Set aside.

Puree eggplant, onion, garlic, and fresh herbs in food processor. Add mushrooms and process.

In large bowl, mix ground pork with eggplant mixture. Add breadcrumbs and mix well. Add grated cheese. Add eggs, salt, and pepper, and mix well.

Use a scoop to make meatballs and roll with dampened hands to smooth.

Bake at 425°F/220°C for about 20 minutes. Place under broiler for a few minutes to brown more, if desired.

And then it was time to put dinner together. I looked on the bucatini package and it stated that a portion was 2 ounces. Two Ounces. Really?!? C’mon. A half-box is barely enough for two. Four people is a whole box with another one sitting there just in case. But… I broke out my trusty scale and weighed out two portions.

Seriously. That’s supposed to be enough for two people. I shook my head in disbelief and decided I was going to cook exactly 2 portions just to prove how ludicrous that portion size is.

It appears it’s not really that ludicrous. Having three meatballs definitely helped, but 2 ounces of pasta with a good sauce can satisfy. It didn’t stuff me by any stretch of the imagination, but part of this whole routine is not to eat until you’re stuffed – and I’m not clamoring for more, either!

So… I learned another thing, today. If I keep it up, one day I might actually be smart. Or, at least, thinner.