I picked up some eggplant in the organic produce isle this week and thought the easiest way to introduce it to the girls was in a pasta. Growing up, I never touched this vegetable. My mother stir-fried it with garlic and soy sauce with generous lashings of sugar - a delicious sweet/salty dish that I only learned to appreciate in my mid-20s, when I was no longer living at home. Now I love eggplant in any form, particularly when done yong tau foo-style - stuffed with fish paste and deep fried, then dipped in sweet sauce.
For the pasta, I paired the sweet vegetable with the robust taste of organic shiitake mushrooms. Slice one medium sized eggplant and seven or 8 mushrooms. Boil a handful of durum wheat pasta. While that is cooking, heat up olive oil in a separate pan and add minced garlic. Add eggplant and mushroom and stir-fry over medium heat. Add a little water to keep them from drying up. When the eggplant and mushroom are cooked, remove from heat. Remove cooked pasta from heat and drain. You can toss everything together now on a plate, but I always prefer to toss in the pot, over medium heat. Everything blends better in the pot, me thinks. Add salt to taste. Because I was making this for the girls, I fold in a cup of shredded mild cheddar cheese for taste. This way, they're getting the calcium and taste, rather than a shot of sodium from the salt. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast, white and black sesame seeds and parsley and it's ready to serve.
Lauren is pretty good with her food and will eat most things I set in front of her, as she did this pasta. Angelica picked out the mushrooms and eggplant before eating her pasta.
PS. This is a great dish for vegetarians.