Sautéed Eggplant (melanzane a funghetto)

Italian Sautéed Eggplants is a delicious side dish prepared with eggplants, cherry tomatoes and simple seasonings.

This budget-friendly dish is perfect to pair with any protein or to serve as a simple vegan meal with a crusty artisan bread.

A blue bowl with sautéed eggplant.

Melanzane al funghetto

Melanzane al funghetto (sautéed eggplant) is a typical dish from the Campania region in Italy. This dish is served mainly as an accompaniment to meat, fish or seafood recipes, although it is also common to serve it as a simple lunch with a good homemade bread.

Sautéed Eggplants have various versions throughout Italy, the most traditional is prepared only with eggplants, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and parsley; while others (like the one we propose here) include tomato in various forms: In sauce, fresh and diced or cherry tomatoes cut into quarters.

A closeup of melanzane a funghetto.

About the name

Melanzana/e is the Italian name for eggplant, while funghetto is the diminutive of mushrooms (funghi)…if that doesn’t make sense to you no worries, neither does in Italian.

The reason is because the eggplant is cut into small cubes that, once they’re cooked, they will shrink even more and get a brown color pretty similar to mushrooms, hence the name.

Step by step recipe

Wash and cut the eggplants into small cubes of about half an inch (1.5cm).

Place the eggplants in a colander and sprinkle them with salt. Place a heavy dish on top and let them rest for about 1 hour to purge off the bitterness. If you making this recipe in summer or when eggplants are in season, you don’t need to make this step.

Eggplant cut into cubes and placed on a colander with salt.

While the eggplants are resting, wash very well the cherry tomatoes and cut them into quarters. You can also use fresh tomatoes, in that case cut them into small cubes.

After 1 hour, rinse the eggplants very well with cold water and pat dry them with kitchen paper.

Dry patting eggplants with paper.

In a sauté pan, heat plenty of olive oil, keep in mind that eggplants absorb a lot of oil, but no worries, they will release most of it after fried (read note 1).

Add the eggplants and fry until tender, about 15 minutes over moderate heat (so they won’t burn).

Sauteeing eggplants with olive oil on a pan.

Remove the eggplants and the excess oil as much as possible. Place them on a plate.

In the same saucepan, sauté the garlic in a bit of olive oil for a minute or until browned (read note 2).

Add the tomatoes, season with pepper and sauté for 3 minutes over moderate heat so the tomatoes release some juices.

Sauteeing cherry tomatoes on a pan.

Add the eggplants to the saucepan and some hand-torn basil to taste. Mix well and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Italian sautéed eggplant on a pan.

Adjust salt if necessary and turn off the stove. Allow the dish to reach room temperature and serve.

Notes

  1. Sauté the eggplants over low heat, at first you will notice that they absorb all the oil and you will feel the need to add more, but don’t. Little by little as the vegetables cook, you will notice that it will begin to release the oil that was absorbed at the beginning.
  2. If you want, you can also add the garlic finely chopped to the tomatoes.

How To Serve Sautéed Eggplant

Sautéed eggplant is an amazing side dish for baked fusilli or this Valdostana chicken or any other protein based meal if you prefer.

But what I really love is to eat them as quick lunch with a Ligurian focaccia panino with mozzarella or just as a simple vegetarian dinner, with parmigiano flakes and this homemade no-knead bread.

Watch How To Make It

sautéed eggplant recipe

Italian sautéed eggplant

Italian Sautéed Eggplants is a delicious side dish prepared with eggplants, cherry tomatoes and basil. Such a simple dish, yet full of mediterranean flavors!
PREP 10 minutes
COOK 20 minutes
TOTAL 30 minutes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 4
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ lb (680g) eggplants (cut into ½"/1.5cm cubes)
  • ½ lb (250g) cherry tomatoes (cut into quarters)
  • 1 garlic clove (skinless)
  • extra virgin olive oil (as needed)
  • fresh basil leaves (or 1 tsp of dried basil)
  • salt

Instructions

  • Wash and cut the eggplants into small cubes of about half an inch (1.5cm).
  • Place the eggplants in a colander and sprinkle them with salt. Let them rest for 1 hour.
  • Rinse the eggplants very well with cold water and pat dry them with kitchen paper.
  • In a sauté pan, heat plenty of olive oil (read note 1).
  • Add the eggplants and fry until tender, about 15 minutes over moderate heat.
  • Remove the eggplants and the excess oil as much as possible. Placet them on a plate.
  • In the same saucepan, sauté the garlic in a bit of olive oil for a minute or until browned (read note 2).
  • Add the tomatoes, season with pepper and sauté for 3 minutes over moderate heat so the tomatoes release some juices.
  • Add the eggplants to the saucepan and a bunch of hand-torn basil. Mix well and cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Adjust salt if necessary and turn off the stove. Allow the dish to reach room temperature and serve.

NOTES

  1. Sauté the eggplants over low heat, at first you will notice that they absorb all the oil and you will feel the need to add more, but don’t. Little by little as the vegetables cook, you will notice that it will begin to release the oil that was absorbed at the beginning.
  2. If you want, you can also add the garlic finely chopped to the tomatoes.
Don’t miss any recipe.Subscribe for free to our Newsletter!

DID YOU ENJOY THIS SAUTÉED EGGPLANT RECIPE? Please, don’t forget to rate it and leave us a comment below, we’d love to hear from you! Also, remember that you share it using the buttons below. If you’d like, you can follow us on PINTERESTINSTAGRAMFACEBOOK and YOUTUBE! 

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating