Wow, that's a mouthful. I hadn't planned on serving all of this together, but since Steve brought home two medium-sized eggplants earlier this week, I figured I could skip the usual ratatouille/moussaka thing and just saute some thick slices as a side dish. When it occurred to me that the eggplant would take up a lot of space on the plate, I decided on a more visually appealing presentation with the pasta served on a bed of eggplant and garnished with the mushrooms and stuffed olives.
The recipe was pretty much the same as here except that I used orzo, figuring that short pasta would be less awkward on a bed of something that needs cutting. I also substituted lemon balm for the basil called for in traditional pesto because my lemon balm plant was in a greater need of thinning. I thought at first that I had burned the mushrooms, but they still tasted good and were simply a little crispier than caramelized. It was a fine line, heatwise, with the eggplant; on one hand I wanted it to cook through without it being too mushy, but on the other hand I didn't want to burn it. Well, at first I thought I was burning it (and that it was just as well to hide it under all that pasta), but it really came out more like it would have on the grill. All I used for it was a little olive oil in a nonstick pan and generous amounts of salt, pepper and Italian herb mix on each side.
It hit the spot: this morning I did my first track workout in ages - 800 meter repeats at the RNE track - and was able to meet or beat my goal time on all of them! Hooray for pasta and hooray for eggplant!
Since my long weekend of work begins tonight, I probably won't post again before sometime next week. Enjoy your weekend off, and I look forward to getting back in the kitchen (and telling you all about it) soon!