Sunday, 19 May 2013

Gnocchi (o pasta) alla Melanzana e Mozzarella. Ottima! Gnocchi or pasta with a wonderful aubergine (eggplant) and mozzarella sauce. Simply to die for!





 When I was a young girl, I used to spend my evenings at home and my two big sister would visit every afternoon... some days they spent all day at our house, which was always filled with the sound of children's voices, laughter and cry. Their little children came, too, and filled us all with so much joy!
 
It was a bit like a "Little Women" atmosphere, with lots of activities going on: reading, knitting, crochet, watching TV, doing crosswords with our Babbo (we were all good at it!) and watching TV, all after I had done my homework, of course!

Our mamma would normally be busy, in the kitchen, cooking supper. She didn't really knit, do crochet and was rubbish at crossword puzzles, but she could cook and she could certainly love. It was on one of those evenings that she used air freshener, instead of hairspray! We laughed so much!
 
One evening, as I was looking through a magazine, I found a recipe: "Spaghetti al telefono" ... it sounded so delicious, I made it and it became a family classic, which I would cook, as my mum never strayed away from classic Italian cuisine!
 
I never made the dish with spaghetti. Instead, I used penne or rigatoni, as I thought a short pasta shape would suit the sauce better. Eventually, this dish became a family favourite we called and still call  "Pasta alle melanzane" because that's what it is: pasta with a most delicious aubergine based sauce!
 
Today, I made this dish, using gnocchi. I love gnocchi so much, though we never had gnocchi at home.
 
I want to share this recipe with you, hoping that you will try it.

 
Gnocchi alle Melanzane e Mozzarella
( Gnocchi or Pasta With my Aubergine and Mozzarella Sauce)

( three generous servings )
 
Ingredients:
 
500g ( just over 1lb) gnocchi
1 large mozzarella, finely chopped
Parmesan cheese
 
For the sauce:
 
olive oil
(enough to cover the bottom of the pan- be generous!)
 
1-2 garlic cloves
(peeled)
1 unpeeled aubergine
1 tin of plum tomatoes
(squashed)
1 tbs passata
chilli pepper, fresh or dried
(as much or as little as you like)
salt
black pepper



 

 
Cut your aubergine in half, then dice (smallish pieces.) Place your olive oil in the pan and when piping hot, add your garlic, This should turn a nice golden colour, but not black. Add your aubergine and stir. If you think you don't have enough oil, you can add some. Aubergine does tend to absorb oil! Cook until the aubergine cubes look translucent or even golden.



 




At this point, you can add your tinned tomatoes, which you would previously have squashed, with the help of a fork. Add salt, pepper and chillies.



 




 While the sauce is cooking, remember to put some water in another pan, ready for your gnocchi (or pasta, if you prefer!)



 

 
Cook the sauce on a medium heat for 20-25 minutes. When your sauce is ready, add your mozzarella to the sauce, finely cut,  and stir until the cheese has melted and the sauce has gone a pinky colour.
 
 
Cook your gnocchi, by plunging them in boiling hot water. Gnocchi only take about a minute to cook. When they start floating, they are done!



 



Drain and add to the sauce and don't forget to add a lot of lovely grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese!



 



This dish can be eaten as it is, or, if you want a golden crust, it can be grilled. It is also delicious with rigatoni or penne.



 
I hope you try it, as it is not just delicious... it's also easy!
 
BUON APPETITO!
 
 

47 comments:

  1. YOUR BLOG IS VERY YUMMY..Your dishes are delicious..come to my blog for poetry,music,dreams...kisses..Kate.Greece.

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    1. Good morning, Kate! yourblog sounds yummy too, as I love and write poetry. So... see you there! And thank you for becoming my newest follower!

      ABBRACCI

      ANNA

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  2. Oh so delicious..Anna, it is great to see you, I missed you. I love gnocchi. My italian friend once showed me how to make it, 2 years ago...really one of these days I have to do it...just for the pleasure of it. Sending you love. xx

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    1. Hello to you and kitties! You don't have to make gnocchi. The stuff you buy in foodstores is fine. I certainly don't have time to make gnocchi every time I fancy it!

      I am very busy, at the moment, as by the end of the week we will be moving into our new house in Italy, though we still be coming back here, to this house. I've packing, sending stuff over, etc. This is going to be a hectic week. We are even sending a cat to Italy, all the way from our house in NY! My husband can't live without cats and I, too, would like to know she's been left behind. I'm sure she will love her life in Italy!

      BIG HUGS!

      ANNA
      xx

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  3. Buongiorno my dear Anna..I'm very very happy that i meet you in my blog.Thank you very much for your sweet words.Don't afraid the greek language.You can manage very well if you want.I'll be glad to show me your poems!Make a new blog with your ,poems,your thoughts and your dreams..I adore your country like my country..I have many memories of there!i Spending my time in Lagopatria,near Napoli the last winter.I was invited here by my best friend Peggy!I hope to be friendw too!!Many many hugs and kisses!!!keep in touch and sorry my English!

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    1. Dear Kate, Englishy is my second language, so don't apologize, as I'm sure I make the occasional mistake!

      I will serously think of starting another blog, when I'm in Italy, so I can share my pictures and my thoughts.

      Thank you for coming back with your second message. It makes me happy. I must tell you that I feel towards Greece just the same as you do for Italy: lots of lovely memories of people, places, good food and wine, best music in the world and that sea... I so love the language, too!

      Don't you think we were really, really lucky to be born in the middle of the Mediterranean? So much sun, sea, beauty, blue sky... wonderful!

      We have bought a new house in a place near Bari, in Puglia, where I was born, but we also have one in Campania (Naples is in Campania) and, again, we feel blessed. The area is so wonderful! We see Capri from our house!

      Keep commenting, please. It makes me happy!

      CIAO!

      ANNA

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  4. Thank you for sharing the recipe
    My family will love this dish...it looks delicious!!
    I am glad you are back!

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    1. Hello Maria! One way or another, I'm always here, if not posting, commenting, though lately I have been very, very busy!

      I think this recipe will appeal to you, as, in our cuisines, we love the same ingredients. This recipe is very delicate, though... yes, I like my chillies!

      HAPPY WEEK!

      ANNA

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  5. I am just heading out to the local shops and aubergine will be top of the list. Eggplants are wonderful these days now that they do not need all of that soaking. H and I seem to be eating less and less meat, and this fits in perfectly with the kind of thing that I enjoy rustling up in the evenings.
    Thanks for the great recipe, also for more of your nostalgic memories which I love to read, and your lovely comments that you leave for me. Another very pretty post.

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  6. Thank you, my dear Rosemary. You truly are a special lady. And I don't just say this because you are so nice to me! You really are...

    I hope you use your aubergine for this dish. You'll see how fantastic it is! I love it! My brother always asks me to cook it for him, though he is quite the chef himself!

    When I started writing this post, the first line was:"I don't really have any memories attached to this dish" but then... images of happy times suddenly "came" and I was transported back... lovely being able to do that! We can still laugh at our mum using air freshener, thinking it was hairspray!

    HUGS...

    ANNA
    xxx

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  7. Cara Anna,
    I'll try your recipe!
    Really!!!

    Have a wonderful week!

    ♥ Franka

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    1. You too, Franka! I had problems accessing your post, today. It just wouldn't open! I'll try again now and I hope you try my recipe!

      CIAO!

      ANNA
      x

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  8. Οh , a healthy plate ! I need it but without cheese ... So ,easy and different recipe .... The doctor said ," no so much meat Olympia ! Many vegetables and fruit !" Your plate looks delicious so I must try it with penne !As always when I see your blog I want to eat everything I have in my refrigerator !!

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  9. Dear olympia. Yes, you can make this without cheese, as the ingredients go very well together. As you can see from the photo, I put a lovely big handful of rocket (rucola) on top of the dish, to add a note of pungency and texture. I love rocket so much and I always have some in my fridge. If you make this dish, let me know what you thought of it.

    I've just commented on your blog. I love plants and flowewrs, too, Olympia!

    ABBRACCI

    ANNA

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  10. Dear Anne,this wonderful plate,took me up in heaven!!And it looks so delicious!!What a beautiful recipe!!I use a lot melanzane(melitzana in greek),in my cooking!!And i also like cheese!!My daughter visit us from Holland!She's living and works there 2 months now!I'm glad you liked my post!!Hope you will visit very soon your beautiful country Italy!!Have a lovely week!!Kisses!!
    Dimi..

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  11. Good morning, Dimi! Thank you for your comment. I love getting comments from my followers as it shows that people at least look at the images! I don't post too often, because editing all the pictures takes a very long time. Maybe I should only post the finished dish! That would make blogging faster and easier for me!
    I know that in Greece people use melanzane a lot. It's good and very versatile, isn't it? My mum used it a lot in Winter, but niot soo much in Summer, as she used zucchine instead, even in Parmigiana.
    I hope you try this recipe, as I post, in the hope that someone will actually "use" my blog, as a recipe book!

    Come back soo, Dimi!

    HUGS

    ANNA
    xx

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    1. I meant "Come back soon!" of course!
      A x

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  12. Replies
    1. Ciao, Silvia! Ho appena esplorato un pò il tuo bel blog, anche con un pò di invidia, in quanto ho dei mobili antichi che hanno bisogno di essere restaurati (un bellissimo tavolo in quercia scura, con la superficie un pò rovinata e opaca, ovviamente da lucidare, oppure un bellissimo divano vittoriano, americano, che è tutto da rifare- necessita un tappezziere!)Vorrei poter almeno restituire il tavolo alla sua bellezza originale, ma non so... ricorreremo agli esperti!

      Grazie per essere diventata la mia ultima follower. Farò lo stesso con te!

      ABBRACCI

      ANNA

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  13. Tu sei una cuoca doc.......!!
    Devono essere buonissimi!!
    E' un piatto degno di questa stagione!!;D
    Un bacione tesoro a presto!!
    Sabry!!

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    1. Sabry, io amo tanto creare in cucina, anche se il mio talento sono le Lingue e Letterature Straniere. Amo anche l'arte, scrivere e la letteratura. Essendo italiana, è naturale che sia una cuoca DOC... l'Italia è il Paese dei cuochi, no?

      Una bacione anche a te, cara!

      ANNA

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  14. ottimo piatto..... grazie per i complimenti a presto da claudette

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    1. Grazie per la visita! Mi ha fatto tanto piacere!

      A presto, spero!

      ANNA

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  15. Ciao Anna!
    Questa combinazione di racconti passati con cibo italiano che so quanto è ottimo è il miglior regalo che ci puoi fare. L'avrai sicuramente capito quanto godo i tuoi post. Hai trovato il duetto perfetto che anima tutto e dà motivo di leggere con gioia.
    Buon soggiorno in Italia e saluti a questo paese amato!
    Olimpia

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  16. Ciao a te, Olimpia! Sai, postare solo ricette sarebbe inutile, perchè lo fanno in tanti! Io ho storie vere da raccontare... storie semplici e piccole, ma vere! Sono contenta che ti piacciano!
    Spero di essere subito in Italia! Posterò belle immagini dal mio Pases!

    Ti abbraccio...

    ANNA

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  17. My dear Anna...buongiorno..Thanks for your lovely reply that i found in my blog..thank you from the bottom of my heart..you make me very happy last night.you have the greetings of all my family-Itold them about you- keep in touch my sweet girl.Hugs and kisses.

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    1. Buongiorno a te! I really love poetry and understand where it comes from. I believe poetry to be the purest form of art, as it comes directly from the heart. A poet's role is not an easy one, as you have to paint landscape without paper, brushes or paint! Not easy! it's the reason why I love it so much!

      Have you read the poems of Pablo Neruda'

      You, too, say lovely things about me. I am not really that special... quite nice, yes... but not too special! Give my regards to your family, please and... THANK YOU, BUTTERFLY!

      HUGS

      ANNA

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  18. Lovely Anna, here is yet another beautiful looking recipe that I simply must try.
    Although I do not cook it very often, I adore gnocchi and of course they are so easy to prepare. Aubergine is also a vegetable that we do not have very often but now I have good reason to pick one up on my shopping trips.
    With this cold and rainy weather we are currently having, I can see a big plate of Gnocchi alle Melanzane e Mozzarella going down a treat this weekend.
    Happy bank holiday weekend Anna.
    Paul:)

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    1. Good morning, Paul! I do hope you'll try this recipe, bearing in mind that the original was made with spaghetti. I usually like to use "short" pasta, as we call it, like rigatoni or penne. This dish is quite delicate and would be an ideal one to cook for your friends. Once the mozzarella has melted and blended in with the sauce, you must immediately add your pasta, mix, grate lots of cheese over it (I prefer Pecorino or Pecorino romano to parmigiano!)I also like my food "hot" so I add chillies whenever I can. If you like hot food, too, you can be a bit extravagant as this dish, no matter how hot, will always be quite delicate. I LOVE IT!
      We use a lot of melanzane in our cuisine and I have several here, on my blog. Type in "melanzane" or "aubergine and you'll find them all.
      As I know you will make this dish, send me a link to your Twitter, if you like, so I can see it! You can garnish with a handful of fresh basil, or rocket (adds crunch and "spice!"

      Happy weekend to you, too! Mine, unfortunately, won't be very exciting!

      CIAO!

      ANNA :)

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    2. Anna, Anna, Anna! My tummy is full and your recipe was delicious. Oh wow! We ate in the garden and oh wow SO yummy, everyone said how fantastic it was! I have put a put and link to your blog on twitter and instagram. https://twitter.com/MagicalWreaths Now maybe a little nap in my sun lounger. Baci!

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    3. Good morning, Paul! I am so glad that you actually made my lovely dish and that you thought it was delicious! Yes, it is! And maybe a little lighter if you use dried pasta (penne, for example!) rather than gnocchi, which is so deliciously filling!

      Thank you so much for showing my link on your Twiiter. I am now following you on INSTAGRAM and I see that you started following me! Thank you so much!

      Will be posting from Italy, soon!

      CIAO E BUONA GIORNATA!

      ANNA :)

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  19. Bela receita...Espectacular....
    Cumprimentos

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    1. Obrigada, Fernando! Grazie per il commento!

      CIAO!

      ANNA

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  20. Hello Anna, this dish looks so delicious. I got to try it one of these days. I am a new follower now on GFC. Mr. Paul posted your link on Instagram.

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    1. Good morning, Pamela! I should thank Paul for "introducing" you to my blog! Benevenuta! Welcome! I love comments, so please do comment!

      I started following Mr. Paul on INSTAGRAM, too!

      CIAO!

      ANNA

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  21. Hello lovely Anna, I enjoyed the portrait you painted of your family life. I can imagine it was very noisy in your home.
    I am afraid that I don't care for aubergine, but perhaps I should try your recipe before I give up on it for good!
    Thank you for your lovely comments. I love to think of toadflax in the walls of Pompeii, how lovely. I am having a lot of fun at the moment making stuff but also really enjoying nature and the seasons. Much love to you my friend, and thanks for visiting, Linda xx

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    1. Dear Linda... try my recipe, if you want to, but... you don't have to like aubergine! It's OK to hate it! I, for example, would and could never, ever eat butter or spreads, especially on bread! i don't even eat butter icing, or any dish where butter can be tasted! When I buy a sandwich, I can only eat it if there's no butter in it. I look for ones with mayonnaise, as, if I spotted butter, the sandwich would have to be binned. I'll tell another one which you will not believe! I... don't like raw tomatoes (i sometimes eat them if they are "dressed" but... you'll never see me put a tomato in my mouth. As for cooking with them, I just can't eat the skin, so, in a sauce made with fresh tomato, I will eat everything except the tomatoes, as I could never chew or swallow the skin.
      So, you see? I have one or two things I hate! Oh, yes! And... Southern Comfort! My neighbours once made me drink so much of it, I was ill for two whole days!

      Enjoy making the beautiful things you make. I'm off to Italy on Saturday, so... look out for my next post!

      HUGS

      ANNA
      xxx

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  22. Grazie mille for this recipe! I'll try it when I cut my first aubergines straight from my garden.

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    1. How lovely! I think you are very lucky being able to grow your own aubergines. It sounds very, very exciting!

      Thank you for the comment and... see you soon!

      CIAO!

      ANNA

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  23. This looks lovely Anna, and it never ceases to amaze me that such heavenly dishes can be made just from a few simple healthy ingredients - every recipe of yours and your Mama's that I have made have always been delicious, and I shall be trying this one! My kind of cooking for sure!
    Thank you for sharing this along with your precious childhood memories.
    Have a great weekend Anna!
    Gill xx

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    1. Thank you, Gill! I know that you have tried several of my recipes and it really makes me happy to know that I am not just doing this for myself!

      I will have a very busy weekend: flying to Italy tomorrow, so my next post will come from Italy!

      Lovely, sunny day, today: I'm so glad!

      HUGS

      ANNA
      xxx

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  24. It is fate that I have landed here! We went to Italy for the first time last year and I loved it. My favourite dish there was gnocci (I took a photo of it in the restaurant and sent it to the kids!). As I write this I am cooking a huge lasagne for my grown-up kids and all their friends. Am your latest follower! xCathy

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  25. Hi Cathy! Sorry I didn't reply earlier, but I was on my way toItaly, where I am very, very busy with the new house, which is, at the moment, a total mess! And... there's no coffe! ... which is terrible for an Italian!

    Please stay tuned, as I will be posting again, soon. A lovely new cooker is arriving today, so... will be cooking again, soon!

    KEPP FOLLOWING! I must go and find my glasses, now... I can't see what I am writing.

    CIAO!

    ANNA
    x

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  26. Dear Anna, that looks so delicious, I must eat gnocci again, my Mum used to make something similar for us!
    Good luck with all your house adventures, it must be tiring chaos but for such a happy reason. I love the thought of you and your family being like ' Little Women' it's one of my favourite books. I always wanted to have sisters, I have three (well loved) brothers! Take care and have a happy weekend, Jane xxx

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  27. Hi Jane! I just saw this... your comment. We are here in Italy, watching TV. We had a wedding last Saturday, and were very busy. It was such a lovely wedding!

    Having sisters is nice, but my two are always competing with each other. I am the baby in the family, so I don't count, as there's an age gap, which is good for me!

    I had a very nice weekend, THANK YOU, JANE!

    ANNA

    xxx

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  28. Anna.. I just found your blog. Your recipe looks delicious! It reminds me of the Eggplant Parmesan that I made as a young bride...43 years ago. I followed the directions exactly... However, the recipe was for 8 servings! We had so much leftover, we never wanted to see it again! I hope you are enjoying life... Smiles, Susan

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    1. Hello Susan!

      I just saw your comment. I have a good recipe for Parmigiana, here on the blog, if you would like to try it. For a lighter version you can use zucchini instead of eggplant.

      Thank you for your comment and... Come back!

      Ciao!

      Anna

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