I often use recipes as an inspiration for ingredient combinations or as a base to tweak it and make it my own. This simple Martha Stewart recipe, however, is perfect as is. My only changes are a garnish of Aleppo pepper flakes for their mild and fruity heat. Here in Arizona, I can harvest eggplant and basil almost year round, and this is a frequent lunch in our household. Israeli couscous is one of my favorite pastas, and this easy cooking technique transforms the eggplant into velvety luxurious bites.
3/4 cup Israeli couscous
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound of eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
3 small shallots, chopped
2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
1/3 cup lightly packed fresh basil, torn or chiffonade
Salt and pepper
In a small saucepan, cook couscous according to directions, drain, and set aside. In a large skillet with lid, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and shallots, season with salt and pepper, and stir to coat. Cover and cook, stirring frequently until shallots are caramelized and eggplant is tender, about 10 minutes. Add couscous at end to warm. Transfer to a serving bowl, toss with vinegar and basil, and season with salt and Aleppo pepper.