This dish may include pork, but the squash, eggplant and tomatoes are the stars. The tomatoes and eggplant are roasted in the oven to richen the flavors, and the spaghetti squash makes a substantial base for the dish. For a hearty meatless meal, just skip the pork. Enjoy with a glass of red wine and a piece of crusty whole grain baguette.
1 medium eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 large can roma tomatoes, cut into chunks with kitchen shears
extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, minched
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper
1 large spaghetti squash
all purpose flour
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 boneless pork loin chops
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat a large, ovensafe skillet on the stovetop to medium. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and onions to the skillet. Saute for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and thyme and cook for 30 seconds more.
Add the eggplant, and continue to cook for 10 minutes. The skillet will be full, but the eggplant will cook down. Add bay leaf and tomatoes. Transfer skillet to the bottom rack of the oven, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring and smashing the vegetables every 10 minutes.
Cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side down on a rimmed baking pan and add a small amount of water. Place the pan in the oven on the top rack. Check for doneness after 25 mintues or so. If the tines of a fork go through the skin easily, it’s ready. Remove the squash from the oven and scrape the strands of squash out with a fork into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and a few pats of butter. Cover and set aside.
Remove the eggplant and tomatoes from the oven. Tear basil leaves and add to vegetables. Tent with foil.
Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Then bread them by dredging in flour, then dipping in egg, then dredging in panko breadcrumbs. Add a couple of tablespoons of olive or canola oil to a skillet, and heat to medium. Add pork and cook for 4 minutes on each side. Remove from skillet and slice each piece into 3 or 4 pieces lengthwise.
To serve: Place a large serving of spaghetti squash on each plate. Fan slices of pork out on top of the squash. Top with a large spoonful of the eggplant and tomato mixture. Garnish with shaved parm and serve with a piece of crusty french bread.