Eggplant-Pepper Tomato Sauce
Packed with the flavors of summer, this sauce slow-cooks eggplant, bell peppers, and tomatoes together until the veggies break down and the flavors meld. Finish it with fresh basil and parsley. Serve it over pasta, on top of poached eggs, with garlic bread, or baked over polenta for a quick, satisfying gratin.
- 1 pound eggplant (about 1 medium eggplant)
- Kosher salt
- 2 medium red, yellow, or orange bell peppers
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 4 medium garlic cloves
- 8 tablespoons olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or water
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1Trim and cut the eggplant into medium dice; place in a colander in the sink. Generously salt the eggplant and toss to coat. Weight it down with a bowl (the bowl should be pressing on the diced eggplant without crushing it) and let drain for 20 minutes.
2Meanwhile, cut the remaining vegetables: Core and seed the bell peppers, then cut them into medium dice. Place in a large bowl. Cut the onion into medium dice and add it to the bowl. Finely chop the garlic cloves and add them to the bowl. Set the bowl aside.
3When the eggplant is ready, lightly blot it with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Heat 6 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large straight-sided skillet or frying pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the eggplant in an even layer and let it sit, undisturbed, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant begins to brown, about 8 minutes more. Remove the eggplant to a medium bowl and set aside.
4Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and heat until shimmering. Add the reserved bell peppers, onion, and garlic and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes.
5Add the browned eggplant, canned tomatoes, vegetable broth or water, and oregano and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes.
6Stir in the basil and parsley. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
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