Monday, March 21, 2016

ROASTED EGGPLANT SPREAD - Crema di Melanzane

This is a very healthy antipasto spread for burschette or crostini. It is also a delicious spread with carrots or celery for a light lunch or snack. It's perfect for picnics because it is served at room temperature. If you don't have pine nuts (pignoli), substitute walnuts.


2 medium eggplants, peeled and chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
½ large sweet onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, cut in half
3 T (45 ml) extra-light olive oil or grape seed oil
½ t (2 ml) red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup (125 ml) pine nuts or walnuts
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
5 to 6 large basil leaves
1 (14 oz/398 ml) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained in a mesh colander
3 T (45 ml) chopped Italian parsley
1 T (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 T (30 ml) finely chopped fresh basil, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C) degrees.

Toss the eggplants, bell peppers and onion in a bowl with the garlic, oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.
Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 30 to 35 minutes (save the bowl to use later). Stir once during roasting.
Meanwhile, lightly brown the nuts in a dry skillet. Do not walk because they burn easily.

When the eggplant mixture and nuts are cool, transfer them to a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, basil, and beans and pulse until the mixture is uniform but still slightly chunky. Spoon into the bowl and stir in the Italian parsley and extra-virgin olive oil.

Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the chopped basil, and serve with bruschette, crostini, or vegetables.










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