Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Eat In. Smoky fusilli goodness.

Last night for dinner, I tried to re-create a pasta dish from one of my favorite Italian restaurants in L.A. The "Fusilli con Melanzane e Scamorzaa" at Pane e Vino is so delicious. Before having it, I was not particularly a fan of smoked cheese. The smoked mozzarella in this dish though, gives the vegetarian meal such heft (in a good way).

On their menu it's simply described as "corkscrew pasta, smoked mozzarella, eggplant, tomato sauce". Simple enough--but a great combination I honestly wouldn't have come up with on my own.

I had an unopened jar of Trader Joe's Traditional Marinara Sauce in my cupboard, but stopped off at Gelson's for the other ingredients: De Cecco brand fusilli, a small eggplant, and both fresh small mozzarella balls, and smoked Gruyère (I couldn't find smoked mozzarella and didn't want to forgo the smoked flavor).

I rinsed, sliced into discs, chopped (into about 1/2 inch cubes), then rinsed again, and salted the eggplant. Apparently (in some quick research I did) eggplant has a tendency to be bitter, and rinsing and salting can help. I let the rinsed, salted eggplant sit in a colander for 10 or so minutes as I got everything else ready.

The rest was so easy--I just cooked the pasta, drained it, poured it into a large bowl with some marinara sauce at the bottom of it, threw in the eggplant and cheeses, tossed it all together, adding some more sauce along the way, then put it in the oven (at 325° F) for about 20 minutes for the cheeses to melt.


Pane e Vino is located at 8265 Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles. Info:, (323) 651-4600

-- Leslie Anne Wiggins

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