Mnazaleh Mashup with Chickpea Casarecce

Recipe Courtesy of Chef Matt Harding.

Mnazaleh is a Middle Eastern staple featuring warm spices, succulent braised eggplant, tomatoes and chickpeas with a mix of herbs for a pop of color and freshness.

3 pounds Barilla Chickpea Casarecce
2 quarts chopped eggplant, salted, rinsed, drained, patted dry
1-1/2 cups dry white wine
9 medium tomatoes, seeded, chopped
Kosher salt & ground black pepper
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons Harissa spice mix
3/4 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 large white onions, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
24 ounces canned chickpeas, rinsed
1-1/2 cups chopped Italian parsley
1-1/2 teaspoons dried mint
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup red wine vinegar

1. Bring salted water to a boil in steam-jacketed kettle or large stockpot on stove top. Cook pasta as directed on package; drain.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup oil in large rondeaux on medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook eggplant; 3-5 min. until golden brown, stirring frequently. Remove eggplant from pan with slotted spoon; transfer to clean bowl. Add remaining oil to pot on medium-low heat. Add onions and 3 cups water; simmer 15-20 min. or until onions begin to caramelize and most liquid is evaporated.

3. Deglaze pan with wine. Add garlic, tomatoes and chickpeas; simmer covered 20-25 min. or until slightly reduced.

4. Return eggplant to pot; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add 1 cup parsley, sugar and spices. Simmer mixture 30 min. or until eggplant is soft and sauce is thickened. Add pasta; toss to coat.

5. Garnish with remaining parsley, cilantro, and vinegar before serving.

Chef Notes: Prepare this sauce without the garnishes up to 2 days ahead. Store covered tightly in the refrigerator.