Creamy Penne with Eggplant Polpette
This is a great matchup. Eggplant polpette makes for a fun vegetarian twist on meatballs. Pair them up with a creamy sauce and a chive garnish.
What you will need
2 Medium Eggplant
1 Red Onion
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 Tbsp Capers
14 oz. canned Lentils
1 cup Almond Flour
1 lb. Penne
3 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Flour
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/4 cup Chives(Nutritional facts 99 calories, 4.85 g fat, 12.07 g carbohydrates, 2.74 g protein, 6 mg cholesterol, 547 mg sodium)
How to cook
Preheat oven to 400°F
Cut off the stem tip of the eggplant and discard the leafy cap. Slice the eggplant into flaps, around 1/4" thick. Stack the flaps and slice into strips, about the same width. Group the strips and slice perpendicular one more time to yield cubes.
Dice the onion as finely as possible. Remove the stem tip and slice in half through the stem to root axis. Slice finely from the top, perpendicular to the sliced stem face without cutting through the root end. Then slice into the stem face several times with the blade parallel to the board to complete a hatch pattern. Slice again from the top perpendicular to the previous slice to dice finely.
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan.
When the oil is shimmering and flows quickly around the pan, you can add the diced eggplant. Cook for several minutes, stirring frequently. Eggplant really sucks up oil as it cooks, so you may need to add some more olive oil if the eggplant starts sticking too much.
When the eggplant has softened a little, you can stir in the red onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is tender. You don't need to cook the vegetables down to a paste as you might for a stew because we'll be blending them shortly and leaving a little texture will keep the polpette from being too dense or chewy.
Toss in the capers.
Strain away and discard the packing liquid from the lentils. Add the strained lentils to the pan. Stir over heat until heated through.
Add a little salt and a few turns of freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Transfer the mix to a food processor. A blender would work as well but will make it a little easier to overprocess the vegetables.
Toss in the almond flour.
Pulse briefly, stopping to scrape down the sides of the hopper with a spatula. It should really take only take 3 or 4 taps to loosely chop the vegetables and mix thoroughly with the almond flour.
Scoop the mixture into balls. A heaping standard tablespoon makes for a good portion size. The mixture can be a little sticky. Coat the spoon in olive oil to make the process go a little smoother.
With the polpette arranged on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone, bake for 25-30 minutes. Polpette should be lightly browned on top and cooked through.
Cook the penne to the desired doneness in well-salted boiling water as directed on the package. Then strain.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saute pan over medium heat.
As the butter begins to bubble, stir in the flour to form a loose paste. Continue cooking, stirring constantly with a spatula or a wooden spoon, until the paste takes on a reddish-brown hue as shown in the video.
Add the milk and let it come to a gentle simmer. Stir to break up and distribute the flour paste as much as possible.
Stir in the sour cream.
Add a little salt and pepper to taste.
Add the sauce to the penne and toss to mix well..
Slice the chives. Toss them into the pasta, reserving a pinch or two for garnish. Toss to mix.
Serve the creamy penne topped with polpette and a pinch of chives.