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Purple Produce

No matter what you call it—eggplant or aubergine—this veggie is the base of many delicious recipes.

by Jean Hecker

We Americans call it an eggplant, the French and most Europeans call it aubergine. No matter what you call this shiny globular purple vegetable, it certainly is one of the most versatile summer veggies.

Carluccio’s in Northfield makes the most incredible pizza, my favorite being their eggplant parm pizza with a big dollop of ricotta cheese on top. My sister Linda makes the delicious pasta ala Norma, and my best friend Joyce puts her own spin on the eggplant Parmigiano casserole by using fontana cheese instead of mozzarella.

I just can’t get enough of eggplant! One of my new favorite summer recipes is this eggplant custard. Pour it over the pasta as directed, or pour into individual ramekins and serve as a first course.

Eggplant Custard Casserole
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

1 lb. eggplant, peeled and diced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
4 heaping tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
Pinch of nutmeg
1 box cooked rigatoni or penne pasta, cooked al dente

Butter a 9X13-inch baking dish. Saute eggplant in olive oil until soft, let cool slightly. Then place all ingredients in food processor until blended.

Pour mixture over cooked pasta, and sprinkle top with additional Parmesan cheese. Bake for 25 minutes or until puffed and slightly browned. Serve with your favorite marinara or pesto sauce on the side.

Jean Hecker has a BA in Home Economics Education from Rowan University and enjoys exploring all facets of the food and restaurant industry.

Food for Thought