From our kitchen to yours: Pasta with spicy eggplant sauce

Anneliese Abney

Adapted from a recipe in The Ann Arbor News.

This is a recipe sent my way by my mom! She is a stellar cook — and I’m not just saying that because I’m her daughter, or because I know that she’s going to be reading this article later — and we love talking food together.

Especially since getting a CSA box with a local farm, she’s been trying out all sorts of fun, new recipes that she’s been sharing with me, and this one is a particular favorite. She’s added a ton of yummy veggies to the original, so it’s even heartier than its parent recipe.

For us dairy-sensitive types, this is a great choice: There’s none of that tricky lactose for our stomachs to fight against! For dairy-lovers out there, you should definitely be garnishing with tons of parmesan or maybe some feta cheese – it adds a lovely, salty, cheesy tang to this Mediterranean-style sauce.

What you need:

  • 12 oz. whole wheat pasta (or brown rice pasta, if you’re looking to go gluten-free!)
  • 6 cups eggplant, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 3 + 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • at least 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5-6 large mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes, canned
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 -1 tsp red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1 cup fresh basil, chopped

What to do:

Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

Toss the eggplant in three tablespoons of the olive oil, then place in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes, rotating the pieces once.

While the eggplant is baking, heat the remainder of the oil in a large skillet or wok.

Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion turns translucent.

Add mushrooms and pepper, cooking and stirring the veggies until fragrant.

Add your tomatoes, salt, pepper and paprika. Simmer the sauce for about half an hour — during this time, boil water and cook your pasta — then add eggplant, olives and red pepper flakes and simmer for a few more minutes.

At the very end, stir in your basil and simmer briefly — just long enough for the sauce to soak up that basil-y goodness. Toss the sauce with your pasta, which you’ve remembered to cook during the sauce-simmering process, and serve!

Makes about 6 servings.

Guten Appetit!