Chef Matt Harding
Piada Italian Street Food
Mnazaleh is a Middle Eastern dish featuring warm spices, braised eggplant, tomatoes and chickpeas with a mix of herbs for a pop of color and freshness. Chef Matt Harding of Piada Italian Street Food pairs the combo with chickpea casarecce, a short pasta noodle with curled edges and a groove down the middle. It’s made with gluten-free chickpea flour instead of wheat flour and the shape nicely absorbs the robust veggie sauce.
3 lb. chickpea casarecce pasta
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 qt. chopped eggplant, salted, rinsed, drained and patted dry
3 large white onions, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
6 garlic cloves, minced
9 med. tomatoes, seeded and chopped
24 oz. canned chickpeas, rinsed
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped Italian parsley, divided
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. dried mint
3 tbsp. harissa spice mix
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
3/4 cup red wine vinegar
1. Bring salted water to a boil in steam-jacketed kettle or large stockpot over high heat. Cook pasta as directed on package; drain.
2. Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in large rondeaux over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook eggplant 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove eggplant from pan with slotted spoon; transfer to clean bowl.
3. Add remaining olive oil to pot; reduce heat to medium-low. Add onions and 3 cups water; simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until onions begin to caramelize and most liquid is evaporated.
4. Deglaze pan with wine. Add garlic, tomatoes and chickpeas; cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes, or until slightly reduced.
5. Return eggplant to pot; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup parsley, sugar and spices. Simmer mixture 30 minutes or until eggplant is soft and sauce is thickened. Add pasta; toss to coat.
6. To serve, plate and garnish with remaining parsley, cilantro and vinegar.
Photo courtesy of Barilla