Ash’s smokey chunky tomato sauce. On an eggplant base with grilled asparagus and a simple salad.

At work last week I got an email from Ash, saying that he wanted to cook dinner one night and that he had an amazing recipe idea. And it was amazing. I actually stopped, a number of times, during dinner, to say ‘wow, this sauce, just wow’. It was that good.

He bought a fat round eggplant and grilled slices, and topped them with a chunky, rich tomato, mushroom and olive sauce that was just slightly smokey.  The sides were grilled asparagus, a baby spinach and shaved zucchini salad, and a glass of shiraz. Incredible. It’s making me hungry just thinking about it.

I’m starting to worry that Ash will become the star of this blog – whatever will I do!

So without further ado, here is the recipe.

Ash’s smokey chunky tomato sauce (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, halved and sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 10-12 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1 heaped tsp minced chilli
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (the magic ingredient)
  • 2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 handful fresh basil, scrunched and roughly chopped

Method:

  1. Heat oil over medium heat and saute the onion until translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms are a bit browned.
  3. Add the olives, chilli, paprika and diced tomatoes and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is really thick.
  4. Stir through soy sauce and basil and serve.

And to make the entire amazing dinner, that would serve about four people, you will need:

Ingredients:

  • Ash’s chunky tomato sauce
  • 1 large eggplant, sliced into 1cm rounds
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1 zucchini, shaved (use a mandoline or a peeler)
  • A few big handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp caramelised balsamic vinegar

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Brush eggplant slices with a little olive oil and roast in a single layer on an baking tray for 30 minutes, or until a bit browned, turning halfway through. He did this while the sauce was simmering down.
  2. Toss the zucchini, spinach and vinegar to make the salad and set aside.
  3. When the eggplant is about 5-10 minutes from done, brush the asparagus with a little more olive oil and grill on another baking tray in a single layer.
  4. Top eggplant bases with tomato sauce and serve with asparagus and salad. Fight over the leftovers.
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