Just as abruptly as it began, spring break is over and I'm back in Davis. The break was so short that it hardly feels like a new quarter could be starting, but it's beginning to sink in now that I've bought my textbooks and sat through a couple of classes. So far it looks like I'm going to be reading a lot of Moliere; eight of his plays are on my reading lists for my two French classes. My other two classes are food-related: Introduction to Brewing and Beer, and Introduction to Nutrition, which should be fun and interesting. Sadly, we don't actually get to make beer in the Brewing class. Guess that's something I'll have to try on my own sometime...when I turn 21.

    Now, when it comes to pasta, I often take the lazy route and use a store-bought  sauce. Pasta is usually my cop-out-weeknight-don't-feel-like-actually-cooking-anything-today-could-I-possibly-use-any-more-hyphens dinner, and there's nothing wrong with that. But sometimes (like today for instance) I feel like taking my pasta to a different level, playing with the flavors and getting results you won't get from a supermarket pasta sauce. The neat thing about this eggplant marinara is that it's wicked simple, and will only take a scant five minutes more than it would've taken to boil your pasta anyway. Eggplants do something wonderful when simmered in tomatoes and spices; they absorb flavors like a sponge, soften, and disintegrate.

*serves 2

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 Japanese eggplant, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 cloves garlic, crushed
a pinch of dried rosemary
a pinch of dried thyme
3/4 cup canned diced tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
2 oz dry fettuccine

Heat olive oil in a small nonstick skillet until it spreads to coat the pan. Add garlic, rosemary, thyme, and eggplant, and cook until garlic begins to turn golden. Add tomatoes, bay leaves, salt and water. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes, until the eggplant falls apart readily and the sauce is somewhat thicker. Meanwhile, prepare fettuccine according to package instructions. Serve the marinara over the pasta.