Eggplant Salad Shells

1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup olive oil or cooking oil
14 1/2 ounce can diced peeled tomatoes, undrained
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash ground red pepper
1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1/2 cup sliced pitted ripe olives or kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts or chopped almonds
18 conchiglioni (large pasta shells), about 4 ounces

In a large skillet cook eggplant, onion, and celery in hot olive oil or cooking oil, covered, over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, or just till tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in undrained tomatoes, wine vinegar, tomato paste, sugar, salt, and red pepper. Cook, uncovered, over low heat for 5 minutes, or to desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley and capers. Cool. Cover and refrigerate for 2-24 hours.

Let eggplant mixture stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir in olives and pine nuts.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or pasta pot bring 3 quarts water to boiling. Add pasta. Reduce heat slightly. Boil, uncovered, for 23-25 minutes, or till al dente, stirring occasionally. (Or, cook according to package directions.) Immediately drain. Rinse with cold water; drain again thoroughly. Pat dry with paper towels.

To Assemble: Fill each shell with about 1/4 cup of the eggplant mixture. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 side-dish or 18 appetizer servings

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