California Central Coast Recipes

Rustic Marinara with Eggplant, Black Olives and Capers with Bucatini

For eggplant lovers that like a little extra "kick" to their meal, Rustic Marinara with Eggplant, Black Olives and Capers with Bucatini is a great one to have in your recipe repertoire. It's a multi-dimentional entree with the different textures of the lightly-breaded cubed eggplant, coarsely-chopped tomatoes, halved oil-cured black olives, capers and optional crushed red peppers flakes for accent that packs quite a punch.

Several traditional Italian sauces similar to this one, start with "Arrabiata," - meaning "angry" from the hot pepper --and they usually also have tomatoes. Since eggplant and tomatoes naturally go together, this recipe with the additions of savory oil-cured black olives and capers make this quite a multi-dimentional and very textured- for the palate-addition to your menu repertoire.

One thing nice about this recipe is that most all ingredients are available in most grocery-stores year-round. And if it's a "bad year for tomatoes", canned whole tomatoes can be substituted without much taste sacrifice if you peak them up with a little white wine and tomato paste. So you can have most ingredients in your cooking arsenal all the time.

Serve it with a nice salad, some crusty bread , and a red wine and you're all set for a meal with gusto.

Use your personal preference on how much crushed red pepper to use. 2018, Rustic Marinara with Eggplant, Black Olives and Capers with Bucatini
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
re-calculate ingredients for:


For the Sauce
1/4 cup Extra-virgin Olive Oil
4 medium garlic cloves , peeled and chopped
1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 -28 ounce Canned Whole Tomatoes , drained and coarsely chopped
2 to 3 teaspoons Dried Oregano
1/3 to 1/2 Cup oil-cured Black Olives , pitted and halved lengthwise
1 to 2 Tablespoons Capers , rinsed in cold water
1/2 cup White wine , optional
2 Tablespoons Tomato paste , (optional ) rounded
Parmesan cheese freshly grated
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 cup water , to thin down the sauce only if necessary

For the Eggplant
1 Lg. Eggplant , cubed and floured, then fried in
4 to 5 Tablespoons Canola Oil
Salt and Black pepper to taste

6 ounces Bacatini , cooked

Preparation Directions.

1 Cooking over medium-low heat, add the garlic and the red pepper and saute until garlic is fragrant and lightly golden.. You may need a little additional olive oil. Do not brown garlic.

2 Add the tomatoes and oregano, stir well and cover pan. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If sauce is too dry, add a little white wine. If sauce needs more "body", add a little tomato paste, as much tomato paste as necessary.

3 Add in black olives and capers and continue to simmer over medium-low heat.

4 Heat the Canola oil over medium-low heat in a large stockpot. Add cubed eggplant, raise temperature to medium-high and saute for about 10 minutes until lightly golden on all sides. Lightly salt and pepper. Saute the eggplant a couple minutes more.

5 Remove eggplant from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside, covered to keep warm until later. Save a few extra cooked cubes for garnish later.

6 After sauce has cooked for about 20 minutes, add the eggplant back to the tomato mixture, stirring well to distribute eggplant evenly throughout sauce. Cook until eggplant is heated through. (about 5 minutes or so.)

7 Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente or according to the pasta package. Drain the pasta and add to the eggplant-tomato mixture. Toss well. Remove from heat.

8 Serve on individual dinner plates, topping each with a few extra cubes of lightly-golden eggplant for garnish.

9 Have plenty of grated Parmesan for the table

Wine and Food Pairing and Serving Suggestions.

Serve this spicy dish with a Sangiovese wine.

A tip from Sue!

Frying high fat meats

You can cut down on the calories of high-fat meats, by just adding a little water (instead of adding oil) to your frying pan until the meat's fat starts releasing and lubricating the pan, then cook with the frying pan covered. If you want a crispy coating, you uncover the pan or cook with the lid partially ajar.