My goodbye to summer: tomato, olive and eggplant spaghetti

Tomato, olive and eggplant spaghettiIt is time for me to let it go. Summer is my favorite season. It is when I feel my best. Every day I pick a pretty dress (preferably with a floral pattern) and a pair of ballet flats (I have way too many of them!) even if I just have to go grocery shopping. Oh by the way, is there someone out there that can explain to me once and for all why men (including my beloved husband) think that only women wearing high heels are sexy and feminine? How can’t they possibly understand that flats are very difficult to wear because they do not elongate the leg but it’s the leg itself that must be proportionate? Does the name Audrey Hepburn ring any bell? Wasn’t she feminine and chic with all her flats? I believe she was one of the most glamorous women on earth!

But I’m digressing. Back to summer. I drink lots of water and I eat tons of fruit and vegetables. I can easily follow a very healthy diet and lose a few pounds. This year I managed to lose about 14 pounds which – of course – I’m going to regain in the next few weeks because that’s just how my body reacts to the cold weather. I feel like mama bear preparing for going into hibernation, and I need a layer of fat to keep myself warm! 😉

Unfortunately, mother nature has her own agenda. Everything is turning brown and orange and temperatures are lowering. Don’t get me wrong: fall is a wonderful and colorful season, but I’d rather enjoy it from the warmth of my house. 🙂

So, I have decided to kiss my summer goodbye by sharing a recipe where tomatoes are the main character. I’m talking about those incredibly red tomatoes, so juicy and flavorful and whose scent is able to capture your nostrils from a distance. In Italy we called them “sauce tomatoes” and all by themselves they manage to turn the simplest tomato sauce into a winner! Of course, I couldn’t find sauce tomatoes in October, but the tomatoes that I used were really decent and so I said to myself: What the heck! Let’s draw the curtains over summer in style!. 🙂

Tomato, olive and eggplant spaghetti


1,5lb, fresh tomatoes
2 garlic clovers
5 Tbsp and 1/2 cup, extravirgin olive oil
10 leaves, basil
1/2 cup, black pitted olives, cut in half
6/7 oz, spaghetti
1 eggplant


Wash the tomatoes and cut them up into 1 inch pieces. Set aside.

Rinse the basil leaves and shred them. Set aside.

Tomato, olive and eggplant spaghettiUsing a citrus zester, cut some strips out of the eggplant skin. Add some salt (to taste) and set them aside.

In a large skillet, heat 3 Tbsp of olive oil. Add the tomatoes, the garlic, the basil, some salt (to taste) and cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes.

Remove the garlic from the skillet and add the olives. Keep cooking on a low heat until the water from the tomatoes has completely evaporated. Remove the skillet from the stove and add 2 Tbsp of olive oil.

Put a pot of salted water over the stove to boil. While the water is warming up, in a small pot, heat 1/2 cup of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the eggplant strips and cooked them until they brown. Remove the strips from the pot and place them on some paper towel.

When the water is boiling, add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain the spaghetti, put them in the skillet with the tomato sauce and toss to coat.

Put the spaghetti into the serving plates and add some eggplant strips on top of each plate.

I wish you all a great end of the workweek and a wonderful weekend!

Francesca Xx


About Francesca

I am a cook and the founder and art director of Flora's Table, the fine cooking and wine blog. Check us out at :-)
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44 Responses to My goodbye to summer: tomato, olive and eggplant spaghetti

  1. Yes Francesca farewell to summer and it’s true about the high heels (I’m in total agreement about Audrey Hepburn) on to your lovely dish, frying the eggplant skin is brilliant, love it, and the sauce reminds me of my Dad, he grew all of our tomatoes and always made a quick and simple sauce with “sauce tomatoes” it was wonderful and fresh and the very essence of summer. Your dish is amazing.

    • Francesca says:

      Thank you for your lovely words to my silly post! I hope you are doing a little better and that the sorrow is getting bearable. I’m sure you must miss her terribly. How is Nando coping with?

      • Thanks Francesca I am trying to stay busy but I see things daily that remind me of her and the sadness settles back in. Nando isn’t ok but depressed he looks for her and can’t find her. It’s very sad.

  2. What a lovely heartfelt farewell to summer Francesca! I love this pasta dish with it’s classic flavours coming from great quality ingredients. Like Suzanne, I love the idea of frying the thin strips of eggplant skin to scatter over the top before serving.
    Oh and I’m sitting here as I type in a pair of ballet flats… I have an aversion to heels and only wear them when going to a wedding or ball or some such event that dictates I MUST (thankfully they don’t come around too often!) 😉

    • Francesca says:

      Thank you, Margot! I’m glad you liked the eggplant strips idea. It is very simple really but it changes completely the look of any dish in a better way.
      I’m so envy that you are in your ballet season. I’m heading towards my UGG season and my feet are not happy at all! 😉

  3. ChgoJohn says:

    We are of the same mind, Francesca. I go to the farmers markets now with pasta on my mind, looking for the best of Summer’s last. Very soon locally grown fruit and vegetables will disappear and I’m in a race to get my fill before they do. The recipe you’ve shared today would suit my tastes just fine. I’ve not seen eggplant used in this way and cannot wait to try it for myself.

    • Francesca says:

      Thank you, dear John! Well you better hurry up! I don’t know in Chicago but here it is getting pretty cold at least for my taste. Time to let those gorgeous and flavorful vegetables and fruit go … It is so unfortunate! 🙂

  4. I’m absolutely with you Francesca, I love that kind of shoes, I find them so elegant… Btw, your pasta looks very tasty… you’re so brave, despite the unappropriated season I cannot give up with eggplants!

  5. Bizou says:

    Fantastic. Love its simplicity & delicious flavor. In a way it’s sad to say good by to summer. Just like you love the summer. By the way about Audry Hepburn couldn’t agree with you more. I feel so awkward walking in high heels,but I must say every once in a while I wouldn’t mind it as long as it is not over 3 inches. I better get ready to make this delicious recipe before the tomatoes are gone.
    Thank you for sharing.

  6. sabine says:

    Footwear-wise, I could´t agree more on the femininity (is that a word?) on flats!
    Food-wise, I especially love the crispy eggplant zest! Have a great weekend, too, Francesca!

  7. Darya says:

    I love ballet flats! I also like high heels (but I have a very, very, VERY tall boyfriend, I look so tiny standing next to him – and I am not particularly short), but I mostly go for flat and comfortable, especially during the summer. Your pasta dish is so simple, but with great end of the season ingredients it must be fantastic. We are still getting great tomatoes and eggplant here, but every week I fear it might be the last!

    • Francesca says:

      Of course, you love ballet flats! It couldn’t have been otherwise 😉 And I see your point about high heels and a very, very, VERY tall boyfriend. 🙂
      My mother tells me that it is still very warm in Italy. Hopefully, the weather in France is on the same page so that you can still enjoy great fruit and vegetables.

  8. Yes, sadly summer has gone. We had a lovely run of sunshine and warm weather here which only just turned this week. I loved reading about how you wear a dress and ballet flats every day in the summer, it sounds so chic. I so agree with you about heels and how difficult they are to wear. I live in ballet flats to the extent that I now feel ‘all wrong’ when I don a pair of heels. The spaghetti dish sounds delicious, Wish you all a wonderful weekend. 😉

    • Francesca says:

      Thank you, B.! I heard you are having an unusual warm weather in Europe. Today my mother told me that it looks August in Rome. I’m totally green with envy! It’s starting to get really cold here. 😦

  9. I too love summer and always feel bad at this time of year when the days get shorter and the weather cold and blowy, but your recipe is a great way to celebrate the last of summer and make the transition to the winter months.

  10. Ah, yes it feels as though summer has slipped away. Matt and I just returned from our wedding last week and we returned to a chilly Michigan fall. I definitely need to take a few pointers from your book in terms on summer weight loss Francesca 🙂 And let me also note that I am a ballet flat girl myself and find that I am constantly fighting the stereotype of heels as “sexy”. And how could I not mention your delicious looking food! The spaghetti recipe sounds wonderfully simple- something that could easily be whipped up for a weeknight meal.

    • Francesca says:

      Welcome back, Heather! We missed you! I hope you had a wonderful wedding (I’m sure of it!) and an even better honeymoon! Congratulations again to both of you and enjoy the newlyweds’ life! 🙂

  11. Sophie33 says:

    A wonderful ode to the end of Summer with this divine pasta dish,…I love it too!
    Delicious! 😋😋

  12. Mary says:

    Looks fantastic – what a way to celebrate the close of summer.

  13. Your recipe looks delicious and so perfectly presented. I am going to pinch your fried aubergine strips idea. I thought they were the perfect finishing touch.

  14. Fig & Quince says:

    You crack me up as no other Francesca and I honestly could read a whole book based on your observations and dictums! I do agree with you re flats and Audrey (a more effortlessly elegant woman did not live) but I also see the masculine point in that Audrey was more mignon that meow-sexy! I’ve found wedges are the perfect compromise, ha ha. Anyway, as usual, I smiled my way reading through your post and I hope by now you’ve adjusted to saying arrivederci to summer.

    The pasta looks light and glorious and it is making me very very hungry!

    • Francesca says:

      I’m afraid you would be the only one buying my book! 😉
      I agree with you: wedges is a good way to go.
      Unfortunately, it will take me months to adjust … let’s say until the next summer? 😉

  15. So pretty — and what a great trick, those eggplant strips. I can’t wait to try it.

    I never wear heels, and I don’t care whether the men think I’m sexy or not (my husband does, so that’s all that matters anyway, right?) I think flats are cute, and comfy. (My back thinks heels are tortuous).

    But then, he never thinks any woman looks sexy in heels. He thinks they look ridiculous, especially if they haven’t been trained, by years and years of formal ballet, to walk gracefully on their tippy-toes. I can walk in them, but I refuse to.

    That’s what happens after one turns 50. She gets a bit snippy about fashions which put emphasis on stereotyped sex-appeal instead of on sensible, natural, good looks.

    • Francesca says:

      What a lucky woman you are! He is a rare gem, intelligent enough to understand that being feminine has little to do with a pair of heels! Hurray for intelligent men! 🙂

      • He definitely thinks his own thoughts. You two ought to meet. Although he’s an extrovert and you’re an introvert, I have a feeling you will deeply understand, in meeting one another, your mutual free-spirited ability to form your very own opinions, which in my life experience, is (scientifically!) a 1/1,000,000 rarity. And yes, I do know that I’m fortunate.

      • Francesca says:

        Thank you, Tracy! One of the greatest compliment! I’m truly flattered. Of course, I would love to meet both of you! It will happen one day!

  16. Liz says:

    It looks very delicious!

  17. mmmarzipan says:

    Summer is mine too now. I thought I was a winter person growing up. Then I moved to Sweden. Ouch! 😉 Love the look of this dish!!! xxx

  18. Hello Francesca & Stefano, You two together make masterpieces. As simple as the recipe, it is so~ decadent. I love eggplants in pasta and this is just fabulous. It is a pleasure to visit your blog.

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