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This all-purpose sauce is a great addition to any fall dish and a good way to sneak eggplant past finicky eaters. Try it as a pasta sauce with some fresh ricotta or goat cheese, over a protein with a side of potatoes or greens, nestled in a bowl of polenta, or spread on a sandwich.

I’ve been putting a couple big spoonfuls in pretty much anything I think needs a little comfort food love – including into lunchtime tuna salad. Unexpectedly yum.

*Wtf is umami paste? Umami paste is one of those wing-ding ingredients that while not entirely necessary, lends a little extra something to a dish. Think of it like fish sauce. Fish sauce adds depth to dishes, and so does this stuff. I had half a mind to just add fish sauce instead but grabbed the tube of umami at the last minute. If you have fish sauce (or the original recipe’s tomato paste), by all means use them instead.

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Eggplant Sauce

Based on Yotam Ottolenghi’s Eggplant Sauce

Enough vegetable or other neutral oil to coat the bottom of the pan

2c. diced eggplant – 1/4 to 1/2 inch. cubes

2 tsp. umami paste*

1/4 c. white wine

1 can diced tomatoes with juice

big pinch salt

big pinch brown sugar

1 tsp. dried oregano

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sautee the eggplant for about 15 minutes, or until well wilted and starting to brown in spots.

Add the umami paste to the pan, stir, and cook about 2 more minutes. Add the wine, cook an additional minute. Add the tomatoes, juice, salt, sugar and oregano and cook an additional 5 minutes. Turn the heat off the burner and let cool slightly.

Dump into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until your desired consistency is reached. This step is optional, but makes things more palatable for people with aversions to eggplant consistency.

Serves 2-4, depending upon how much you use and in what application.