Gnocchi with Eggplant Balls and Vodka Sauce

 
I was so happy when I opened the freezer and found a container of Vodka Sauce and a container of Eggplant Meatballs. As much as I love 3 day weekends, the 4 day work week is a challenge.

The Vodka Sauce was made without cream. Not because I don't like the cream but I did not have any in the fridge when I made this.

Ingredients-
28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 c chopped onions
2 tbsp olive oil
6oz vodka
1 c milk
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
up to 1/2 c parmesan cheese (freshly grated, optional)

Method-
Heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add onions and cook to translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomato paste and stir into onions until softened a bit. Add can of crushed tomatoes and stir into onion-paste well. Stir in vodka and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes so alcohol can cook down. Stir in up to 1 cup of milk until thinned and light enough to your preference. Add freshly grated parmesan for a little extra kick.


The Eggplant Balls recipe is from Claire's Corner Copia Cookbook. I think the next time I make these I may fry them. These got surprisingly good reviews from Chris. (Eggplant is not one of his favorites!)

Ingredients -
1/4 cup olive
2 large eggplants, peeled and diced
2 tbsp water
2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
4 oz shredded mozzarella
4 eggs, lightly beaten, I would start with 3 eggs and then add the 4th if mixture seems dry
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour for rolling the eggplant balls

Method - 

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the diced eggplant and stir to coat. Add the water, cover and cook about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the eggplant is very soft. Remove from the heat and turn into a bowl. Add the bread crumbs, parsley, basil, mozzarella, eggs (see note above about number of eggs to use), Parmesan, salt and pepper. Stir to mix well. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes.

Form the mixture into meatball size balls. Gently roll each ball in the flour to coat evenly.
Bake in a preheated 350-degrees oven about 30 minutes, turning once after 15 minutes.

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