>Eggplant Surprise

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I had a ton of leftover eggplant from when I made the eggplant parmesan. Also, looking in the fridge, I noticed that I had a lot of other leftovers that I needed to get rid of. And so I came up with a trio of eggplant pasta dishes: Eggplant Alfredo, Eggplant Pesto, and Eggplant and Gravy. It was super quick and easy. And it cleared out like half my fridge.

Eggplant Alfredo:

  1. breaded eggplant slices: I used three slices for each of the three eggplant mini dishes. These were left over from the time I made eggplant parmesan.
  2. alfredo sauce: I had a half jar left over that I couldn’t remember when it was originally opened. I checked to make sure it wasn’t moldy. It wasn’t, which was a plus. I put the jar in the microwave until it got hot.
  3. mushrooms: I had a handful of mushrooms left over from the last time I made pizza, which was about three weeks ago. I sliced them up and sauted them in a pan. Once done, I mixed them into the sauce.
  4. spaghetti: whole wheat (upon Sarah’s insistence)
Eggplant Pesto:
  1. breaded eggplant slices: I used three slices.
  2. pesto: I had half a jar of pesto left over from when I made shrimp pesto and feta pizza. This was concerning because I knew I had made that about two months ago. I checked to make sure it wasn’t moldy. And I crossed my fingers.
  3. spaghetti: whole wheat
Eggplant and Gravy:
  1. breaded eggplant slices: 3
  2. roux: for the base of the gravy, I made a roux. about a tablespoon of butter and about a tablespoon of flour. Melt the butter and then whisk in the flour briskly. I used fake butter, so I didn’t think this was going to work. 
  3. beef stock: I had a cup or so of this that I reserved the last time I made a pork roast. I had frozen it into a large chunk. I took it straight from the freezer and dropped it into my seemingly questionable roux. It began to quickly melt, but I still had my doubts about this gravy.
  4. pepper: once the beef stock melted, I added pepper. a lot of pepper.
  5. sausage: I had leftover sausage from when I made my own sausage for a pizza. I dropped this into the gravy once it had started to thicken. 
  6. spaghetti: whole wheat

I served this trio of eggplant pasta dishes in a fancy serving plate that we got as a wedding present three years ago but had still never used. I thought it looked pretty good, especially since this was really a leftovers night. The problem was, putting the eggplant spaghetti dishes in this serving plate made it particularly cumbersome to serve once Sarah and I actually sat down to eat. But messiness aside, we were quite astonished at how well these leftovers turned out. 

We had thought that we would have liked the eggplant alfredo the best because, after all, what doesn’t taste great covered in alfredo sauce. But it was actually the one I liked the least. The best of the three was the eggplant pesto. The garlicky and herby goodness of the pesto played wonderfully with the breading on the breadcrumbs. And the unobtrusiveness of the pesto really helped the natural flavors of the eggplant really stand out. 
The eggplant in gravy was also very good. The faux butter roux actually turned out pretty good. And since my biggest complaint about my sausage was that it wasn’t savory enough, adding it to a beef gravy made the sausages taste really good. Overall, the eggplant and gravy dish was really satisfying, like a beef stroganoff, but without the guilt of all that butter.
In the end, I considered this leftovers night a success on two levels. One: it got rid of several half-jars of sauce and lots of other things in the fridge that needed to be eaten. and Two: we didn’t get food poisoning, which is, you know, good.
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