Eggplant Tomato Pasta

I've been getting a lot of requests for our favorite freezer meals, so I started taking pictures while cooking them. Notice how minimalist the photos are? I'd like to say it's the new fad, but alas it's because I snapped these in between cooking large batches of food and fighting off my two boys who wanted to eat or play with the food amidst my photo session. Back to freezer meals... They save my life on a daily basis. Although they take a whole week of cooking and prep, that one week lasts me about 3-4 months, depending on how often I use them. Plus, I can use a lot of fresh summer produce to make meals that last until mid-winter.

One thing I love about the summer is fresh produce at the farmers' market. We go every Thursday, on my bike with kids in tow, and it feels almost surreal when I walk up to a vendor and say "the usual." This particular week one vendor had these beautiful eggplants and I knew I had to buy a few and make a freezer version of one of our favorite pasta dishes.
I have also become a convert to fresh herbs, so they go on everything. Whether you put the fresh basil in the pasta before the freezer or after, it doesn't matter. As long as you include it!

Eggplant Tomato Pasta

Adapted from Food Network
Makes 4 servings

1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Coarse grained salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can peeled and crushed, or diced tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, optional
Salt and coarsely ground fresh black pepper
1/4 cup basil (about 10 leaves), torn
8 ounces bow tie pasta (farfalle), cooked al dente
Parmesan cheese for topping

Place eggplant in a colander and season generously with salt. Fill a 1-gallon plastic bag with water, seal tightly and place over eggplant to weigh down. Let stand for 40 minutes.

Rinse the salt off the eggplant, and pat dry. Place the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add eggplant and cook, stirring often, until golden brown on all sides, about 20 minutes.

Add garlic, tomatoes and their juice to the pan. Stir in the sugar and salt. Simmer until sauce has slightly thickened, about 15 to 20 minutes or longer depending on how juicy your tomatoes are. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add the basil and cook 1 minute more. Serve over pasta.

To Freeze:
I usually make a triple batch and put the pasta in glass Pyrex containers. If you have the time and patience it's best to let the pasta cool on the counter, then in the fridge overnight. Wipe the extra condensation off the lids before transferring to the freezer. The lids on the Pyrex are plastic and I label the containers using a dry-erase marker. Discovering this was a game-changer for me :) These should last in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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