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Piccante Eggplant Sauce

Piccante Eggplant Sauce


  • 1 small globe eggplant, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons plus ½ cup olive oil
  • 4 ounces button mushrooms, trimmed
  • 1 small head of garlic, plus ½ small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Calabrian chile paste or 1 fresh Fresno chile, chopped
  • Sliced crusty bread (for serving)

Recipe Preparation

  • Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly score eggplant flesh with the tip of a knife. Place skin side down on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil; season with salt. Toss mushrooms and head of garlic with 1 Tbsp. oil on another rimmed baking sheet; season with salt. Cover tightly with foil. Roast vegetables on both sheets until very tender, 30–35 minutes. Let cool.

  • Scoop eggplant flesh from skin; discard skin. Chop eggplant and mushrooms until a coarse purée forms. Squeeze garlic cloves from skins; chop until mashed. Transfer both purées to a small bowl and mix in tomato sauce, chile paste, chopped fresh garlic, and remaining ½ cup oil; season with salt.

  • Serve with bread for dipping.

  • Do Ahead: Sauce can be made 2 weeks ahead. Cover and chill.

Recipe by Palizzi Social Club, Philadelphia, PAReviews Section

Piccante Eggplant Sauce - Recipes

Last week we showed you how to make some delicious hummus this week, we’re roving to a different part of the Mediterranean to show you how to make another delicious vegan dip. Piccante means “spicy” in Italian, and this spread brings in some fieriness by combining roasted veggies with a hot pepper. Don’t worry, though, because there’s also plenty of other flavors to counter the heat. We made this based on a recipe in Bon Appétit, and we thought it was pretty tasty paired with some nice local bread.

If you want to make it for yourself, you’ll need:

  • A medium-sized eggplant
  • 4 ounces of whole mushrooms
  • A whole head of garlic
  • A small jar of tomato sauce
  • A hot pepper
  • A baguette loaf

First, take the stems out of your mushrooms and peel the outer layers of skin off your head of garlic, but keep it otherwise intact. Place the mushrooms and garlic in a baking dish and drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over them, then sprinkle them with salt.

Slice your eggplant in half and place it cut side down on a baking sheet. Use a small knife to make slits in the skin, but don’t cut all the way through. Pour another tablespoon of olive oil over the eggplant and then salt it too.

Cover the veggies with foil and bake them at 425°F for 30-35 minutes, until they’re thoroughly roasted and tender.

Then cut the skin off the eggplant and roughly chop it up, along with the mushrooms. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their remaining skins and cut those up as well.

Dice your pepper up and mix it in along with 1/4 cup of tomato sauce, another small diced garlic clove, and 1/2 cup of olive oil.

Then cut your bread into slices to serve with your eggplant piccante.

We thought this was a pretty interesting dip: it’s very rich with all that olive oil, but that’s balanced out by the eggplant and mushrooms. All that garlic and the hot pepper add in some great tastes, and it goes really well with some crusty bread. You can also serve this on sandwiches or as a sauce for pasta or anything else you can think of that needs some good, eggplant-y flavor – but if someone asks you to bring an appetizer to a party, this is a really unique, creative type of antipasto that vegetable-based and 100% vegan.

Eggplant Timballo

When it’s eggplant season…they are so gorgeous, well you just have to cook something with them…so there’s Timballo, Parmigiana, Pasta alla Norma (delish), or even cubed up, sautéed and tossed on to a pizza…and that’s only my Italian favs. Middle Eastern eggplant preparations ring all my bells too!

Makes About 6 Servings

I find that I require 2 – 3 large eggplants, so I do 3 cause I hate running out when lining the mold or if any of the slices don’t quite measure up after cooking…either breaking or whatever. And…the good news is if there’s leftover cooked eggplant…rollatini the next day! Or a quick Parmigiana!

For the Timballo:

2 – 3 large long eggplants
EVO for brushing the eggplant slices
4 cups of either your favourite homemade tomato-basil sauce or meat sauce on the thicker side & the addition of peperoncino is always a must here @ #5
½ cup finely grated cheese (either Parmigiano, Pecorino or I’ve used Provolone Piccante as well)
10 oz. ziti or penne pasta, cooked quite al dente, perhaps 2-3 minutes less than stated on package

Make the Timballo:

To begin you will need an 8” springform pan, buttered & coated with fine, dry breadcrumbs set aside.

Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/8” thick slices, layering in a colander, sprinkling with coarse sea salt between the layers as you go. Set the colander over a bowl & allow to drain for 45 minutes to 1 hr. Rinse well with cold water, drain & place on a large towel. Blot the eggplant slices dry. Place them onto rimmed baking sheets & brush with EVO on both sides. Heat the broiler & broil the slices approximately 4” from the element for anywhere from 2 – 4 minutes per side until golden & not too brown. As the eggplant is broiled, remove from the oven, placing the slices onto paper-towel lined baking sheets & allow to cool.

Arrange the cooked eggplant slices in the prepared springform pan so that there is a minimum of a 2” overhang to be folded over once the pasta is added, overlapping the slices as you go. I usually have to arrange eggplant slices in the bottom of the pan afterwards tucking those slices under the ones already in the pan to fill in the middle.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Cook the pasta until very al dente. Drain well & place in a large bowl. Add 2 ½ cups of the sauce & the cheese to the bowl. If you are using tomato basil sauce you can add some fresh basil leaves to the bowl. If you are using a meat sauce it is probably well seasoned enough with herbs & spices.

Pour the dressed pasta into the eggplant lined springform pan, folding the 2” overhang over the pasta.
Place a rimmed baking sheet on the oven shelf below where you intend to bake the timballo & place the timballo on the shelf over it. Bake for approximately 25 – 30 minutes…the eggplant will slilghtly shrink away from the sides of the springform.

Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes. Place a warmed serving plate over the top, invert onto the plate, undo the buckle on the springform, cut Timballo into wedges, serving them with the rewarmed leftover sauce on the side.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - trimmed and cut in half crosswise
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley

Mix flour, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Dredge the chicken breast pieces in the seasoned flour to coat tap off excess flour.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat until hot but not starting to brown. Pan-fry coated chicken breast pieces in the hot butter until golden brown, the juices run clear, and the chicken is no longer pink inside, about 10 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces often. Remove chicken from skillet and keep warm.

Pour white wine into the skillet and scrape pan to dissolve any browned bits of food on the bottom. Mix in lemon juice, reduce heat to low, and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir often. Stir capers into sauce and place chicken back into skillet, turning to coat with sauce.

To serve, transfer chicken to a serving platter, top with sauce, and garnish with lemon slices and fresh parsley.

Eggplant parmigiana (Parmigiana Siciliana della nonna)

Home cook Paolo pays homage to his Sicilian grandmother by cooking up her parmigiana and combining fried eggplants with grated mozzarella, pecorino and Parmesan. Paolo's secret ingredient? Smoked leg ham slices. The Chefs' Line



Skill level

The key to an epic eggplant parmigiana is that thing that marries it all together - the cheese! The sauce has to be nice and rich and with only a few ingredients it's comfort food 101.


  • 1 egg
  • 2 large eggplants
  • 300 ml vegetable oil, for shallow frying
  • 1 fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced
  • 50 g Parmigiano Reggiano or Padano, grated
  • 100 g Provolone piccante cheese, grated
  • 50 g Pecorino Auricchio, grated
  • 100 g leg ham (not smoked)
  • 50 g breadcrumbs
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 700 g tomato passata
  • 1 small bunch basil, leaves picked
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Place the egg in a saucepan of boiling water and cook for 7 minutes or until hard-boiled. Refresh the egg in cold water, then peel and coarsely chop.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until starting to brown. Increase the heat to high, then add the tomato passata, a few basil leaves and the sugar. Season to taste, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Peel the eggplants, reserve the skin and cut the eggplant into 1 cm thick rounds.

Heat the vegetable oil in a deep-fryer or saucepan and bring to 180˚C. Fry the eggplants for 3 minutes or until golden. Drain on a tray lined with paper towel. Deep-fry the reserved eggplant skins until golden and crisp. Drain on the tray with the eggplant.

Once the sauce is ready, you are ready to assemble the dish. Spoon a layer of sauce into a small ovenproof dish. Top with a layer of eggplant, then a layer of each of the cheeses, the ham, egg and a few basil leaves. Top with another layer of eggplant and some of the breadcrumbs, then repeat the layers until the dish is full. Finish with some sauce and a sprinkling of Parmigiano and Auricchio. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbling. Serve warm, scattered with the fried eggplant peel and basil leaves.

A quick, healthy fish recipe

Excluding the time the salsa is set aside to sweat, this Fish with Salsa is a super fast meal – 5 minutes of prep, 10 minutes to cook.

So this is low on calories – 420 calories for this entire plate including 2 slices of bread (which are essential for mopping up the juices!) – healthy, light, bursting with fresh flavour and super quick to prepare.

Ticks all my boxes! – Nagi x

PS If you want to get fancy, call this Pesce Con Salsa Piccante which is Italian for “Fish with Spicy Salsa”!

PPS. For another great, light Italian fish dish try Acqua Pazza (Italian-style poached fish).

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Where do eggplants come from?

The aubergine also called eggplant is a plant. The plant bears fruit which is eaten as a vegetable. It's related to the potato and tomato and can be eaten with the skin on.

Originally aubergine comes from India and Sri Lanka, but it is found all over the world and popular in dishes such as the Greek Moussaka, or simply grilled or fried.

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Let me introduce to you Nanny Pat! She's always coming up with great ideas and tips and tricks when it comes to cooking. After all, Nanny Pat LOVES to cook!

Here we have a great way to make eggplants taste really good, and a perfect side to any meal.

Nanny Pat says this "a quick way that I do my eggplant, just to eat as a side dish, or to make Parmigiana" These eggplant slices can be served together with a BBQ, as a side dish, or as a snack.

Perhaps you're hosting a party and want a variety of nibbles at your buffet table. These would be perfect. You could keep them in the larger size of a slice, or cut them into smaller bite-sized pieces and then coat with the breadcrumbs and bake.

We've had a lot of people make these tasty baked eggplants and tell us they aren't keen on eggplant but when they've tried these, they've been converted. I was the same, I never really liked the texture of eggplant but these baked slices looked so delicious I thought I'd give it a go and from my first bite, I've never looked back. In fact, this is the only way I eat eggplant!

Serve these eggplant slices alongside your main meal, or as a snack with your favorite dipping sauce. Personally, I enjoyed mine with some sweet chili dipping sauce, and my family enjoyed them with a bit of mayonnaise or tomato ketchup. You choose!

Some of you have asked about the skin, whether you peel first or leave as it. I left my skin on and it wasn't tough after baking. Do whatever you prefer, it will be delicious either way.

Let's see what Nanny Pat does with her tasty baked eggplant recipe. Please enjoy!


2 rabbit legs, about 400 grams (.9 lb) total

1/2 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary

salt and freshly ground black pepper

80 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine

120 ml (1/2 cup) pureed canned plum tomatoes

60 ml (1/4 cup) good-quality white wine vinegar

1 anchovy fillet, minced, or an equivalent amount of anchovy paste

1/2 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley leaves

1 Tbsp rinsed, dried and minced capers

Snails with spicy tomato sauce

Where I come from, south of Italy, September and October are the best months to collect mushrooms and snails! Both are a dish that we can’t wait to eat after the summer :) Have you ever eat snails?

If you are travelling in Italy in autumn and if you want to pick snails up from the land, here is my mother’s recipe to cook them.

Ingredients for 4 people

– 1 kg of snails
– 500 g peeled tomatoes, large pieces
– half onion
– a fresh red chilli
– a sprinkling of black pepper
– a sprinkling of oregano
– a pinch of salt

Olive oil for the tomatoes sauce and toothpick to eat snails.

1) Put the snails in a colander and cover it well with a plate, so they have no way to escape. Leave them for at least 2-3 days, washing all very well every day. – This is important to clean their interior organic system. –
2) Preparare the tomatoes sauce: sauté in a pan the onion cutted in half, with olive oil. When it is browned, add: peeled tomatoes, a sprinkle of black pepper and oregano, cutted fresh chilli and a pinch of salt suit to your taste. Cook the sauce for at least 35 minutes by adding, from time to time, a little of warm water. The sauce should be watery.
3) Wash the snails very well with plenty of water and boil them for a few minutes – throw the snails in the water when it is still cold. –
5) Drain the snails well, put them in the tomatoes sauce and cook them in a medium temperature for 10-15 minutes.
6) Serve and eat snails with the help of a toothpick.

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Authentic Tastes

There are three basic ingredients to all Picante Sauces: tomatoes, chilies, and onions. After that, it comes down to seasoning, and if you blend it. If you don’t blend it, you have salsa, if you do blend it, you have Picante!

You can substitute a serrano pepper for the jalapeno if you want to make a hot Picante sauce. No matter how you make your Picante sauce, you’re one of us. You are a Picante lover, and you should be proud.

What recipe do you use for Picante sauce? Do you have any favorite dishes? I’d love to hear about them! If you think there is something I should include or something I missed or skipped over, let me know!

About Kristin Ryals

My name is Kristin, and I'm a housewife with big love for cooking. When I'm not bringing on the Food Network and attempting to become America's Next Top Chef, I'm browsing online for unique recipes to awe my friends with. Outside of the world of cooking (as if there is one!), I enjoy reading, skydiving, live music, and of course, shopping!