Hot Days, Easy Dinner, & No Oven Cooking

“Don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn’t start a conversation.”
Kim Hubbard

88º feels like 97º which tells me that it is not the day to do any oven cooking and the Instant Pot is just sitting there looking at me telling me to make it easy on myself, grab that eggplant and do something with it…inspired by Mark Bittman’s recipe for Pasta Alla Norma, but of course, adapting it just a bit after all this particular dish is not complicated nor does it call for a long list of ingredients.  So many versions out there, mine or Bittman’s not far from any one of them…

One ingredient addition was a leftover 1/2 pod of Knorr concentrated beef stock just because I didn’t want to waste it, but it was a great addition along with a little chunk of parmesan rind, garlic cloves, fresh herbs of choice..the sprinkle of tiny basil buds are big in basil flavor and aroma.


YaYa’s Pasta Alla Norma – 4 servings

1 eggplant ends cut, sliced, brushed with EVOO, and grilled, when done, brush lightly with a little more EVOO, and season with salt & pepper, set aside.
later cut into chunks to add to the finished sauce.

EVOO – 2-3 Tablespoons
1-28 ounce can of San Marzano whole tomatoes, gently hand crushed

2 cloves of garlic crushed and minced
1/4 quarter of a medium red onion, finely diced
fresh basil leaves
2 bay leaves
sprinkle of oregano
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup red wine
small parmesan rind
1/2 pod beef concentrate
1/2 cup water
salt & pepper
pasta of choice, tonight Gemelli
grated romano and fresh herbs for garnish

Heat the Instant Pot to medium splash in some olive oil and sauté the onions until slightly softened, add the bay leaves and garlic and stir for a minute or so, deglaze with a little red wine.  Add the tomatoes and stir in the rest of the ingredients with the exception of the pasta and garnishes, put the lid on the pot, seal the valve, and set the timer for 10 minutes…do a quick release, add in the eggplant to warm in the sauce, serve over your favorite pasta and garnish with basil and cheese…Serve with a lightly dressed green salad with gorgonzola cheese.