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I’m on antibiotics — so I must eat — but I’m on antibiotics for an tooth infection — so chewing hurts.

Also, I may turn into soup if I eat any more of it. 

I’ve been mildly craving romesco sauce; that lovely smoky, spicy, sweet, just a bit acidic flavor perks me up, and today’s a day where everything needs to be made okay.  I usually put it on chickpeas or make a bruschetta of it with roasted eggplant and blue cheese. Today, I’m trying to make it into a casserole with eggplant and orzo.

Romesco’s super easy: Roast a couple of red bell peppers (375 degrees for 45 minutes); in the last couple of minutes put a slice of bread in the oven — either straight onto the rack if you’re not fussy about such things or onto the baking dish with the peppers if you are. In a bowl of a food processor, along with the peppers and bread, add 2 to 4 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup of toasted almonds or pine nuts, 1 tsp of smoked paprika, and cayenne to your taste (<1/2 a tsp or the spices won’t be balanced). Pulse all of these together until a chunky paste forms. Add about 2/3 of a cup of Italian Parsley, and then drizzle in a 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil and 1 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar.

While all this is happening, cube and purge an eggplant, then toss it with 3 Tbsp of olive oil and some pepper. Roast (350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes). Once the eggplant has roasted, add a splash (1 to 2 Tbsp, depending on your taste) of balsamic vinegar.

Par cook 3/4 cup (dried) orzo.

In a casserole dish, mix together eggplant, orzo, another half cup of parsley, and the romesco. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Before you bake the casserole, you can also top it with a strongly-flavored cheese, maybe a blue Stilton or a Cambozola.

 

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