The “poor man´s saffron” is not only a spice, but also a medicine
ingredients for 4 servings (cost about 1 € pp)
- 320 g ready made turmeric tagliatelle or 500 g fresh turmeric pasta
- 1 peperoncino fresco
- 2 small eggplants
- the solid parts of a canned tomato
- Olio d´ oliva EV
- 1 spicchio d'aglio
- prezzemolo tritato
Turmeric is very cheap. It does not have a very pleasant aroma as saffron does (although it is particular), but it has the same coloring power. Turmeric is vastly used in cooking, just to add golden yellow nuances to preparations.
Turmeric is beneficial for human health. I am not a doctor nor a nutritionist, but the web is full of articles about the health benefits of turmeric consumption. It is considered an antioxidant, anti inflammatory, antidepressive and some more antis, I don´t remember know.
Yesterday I found some organic turmeric tagliatelle at the market. Usually, I don´t buy ready made pasta (except for spaghetti), but, for some reason, I decided to try them. If you cannot find ready made turmeric pasta, you can prepare a fresh pasta with turmeric, or even simpler, add a tsp of turmeric in the sauce.
Turmeric use is very common in Middle Eastern cuisine. That´s why I decided to pair these tagliatelle with eggplant, another Arabic scented ingredient.
I also made an experiment. I fried one eggplant and I baked the other, both cut in dice.
The result was a surprise to me, I was sure that the fried eggplant should be tastier, but NO. The baked one was clearly better on the whole preparation, as it had most pleasant Maillard and no oil aromas at all.
So, you cut the eggplants in dice, you just toss them with oil and you bake them at 180 Celsius degrees till tender, count about 15 to 20 minutes.
In a cold skillet we add some olive oil, the fresh pepperoncino and the garlic clove cut in slices. We bring to a gentle heat and, when the garlic starts to turn golden, we add the tomato. We salt and we cook them for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, we boil the tagliatelle, al dente of course (usually 2 minutes less than the package time). We transfer them into the skillet, along with the eggplants and we start to “mantecare” them with some boiling water.
We put them on plates, we garnish with chopped parsley and we serve.