Pasta dishes are one of my favorite meals. With few, mostly affordable, ingredients you can quickly cook tasty and soothing meals that are not too unhealthy. As restaurants are closed right now, I decided to cook a fresh pasta dish that could easily compete with your favorite veggie pasta dish in the restaurant. Eggplant pasta.
For the eggplant pasta, I fry thin slices of eggplant and sweet peppers in olive oil until they are soft and nicely roasted. With garlic, chili, fresh tomatoes, tomato passata (check out my recipe for homemade tomato passata), and simple spices I make a flavorful sauce. Then, I cook the roasted veggies in the gravy. The very al dente cooked pasta, fresh basil, and grated parmesan is then mingeled with the sauce. After 1 more minute of cooking, the eggplant pasta is ready to serve.
Super tasty, full of veggies, full of flavor! You can veganize the dish by leaving out the parmesan cheese.
for the sauce:
- 1 large eggplant
- 1 sweet pepper
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 red chili (use less or more depending on your taste)
- olive oil to fry (several tablespoons)
- about 5 medium-size tomatoes
- 350ml of tomato passata
- salt and pepper to taste
- a pinch of turmeric
- ½ teaspoon of sugar
- 1 hand of fresh basil leaves
- about 50g grated parmesan cheese
- about 350g dry pasta (I prefer penne rigate)
- salt for the cooking water
- grated parmesan to serve
- some basil leaves to garnish
- For the pasta, bring a pot of salted water to boil. The water should be nicely salty.
- Next, trim the ends of the eggplant. Then, half it lengthwise and slice it thinly. Heat some olive oil in a skillet and place as much of the eggplant slices into the skillet as you can. Now fry the eggplant slices until nicely roasted from both sides. If you cover the skillet with a lid, the eggplants will become deliciously soft. Don’t fry all the eggplant slices at once, as they will not be roasted evenly!
- While you fry the eggplant, remove the seeds and the stalk of the sweet pepper. Afterward, slice it thinly. When the eggplant is cooked set it aside and add some more olive oil into the same skillet. Now, fry the peppers until nicely roasted. Set them aside, too.
- Next, peel the tomatoes with a sharp knife, quarter them lengthwise, and slice them thinly.
- Slice the chili and the peeled garlic cloves thinly. Optionally, you can also chop the garlic.
- Clean the skillet or use a second wide skillet. Heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil on low heat and fry the chili and the garlic for a few seconds. Next, add the chopped tomatoes. Cook them for about 5 minutes until they start to become soft. Then, pour the tomato passata over the tomatoes. Cook the gravy for about 10 more minutes until the ingredients have turned into a nice sauce.
- Cook the pasta in the boiling water until it is about 90 % done.
- While the pasta is cooking, put the fried eggplants and sweet peppers into the sauce. Season the pasta sauce with salt, pepper, turmeric, and some sugar. Taste it and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Afterward, cook the sauce for some more minutes.
- When the pasta is almost al dente, transfer the pasta with a spaghetti spoon from the cooking water directly into the sauce. Add the basil leaves (I just cut them roughly with my hands) and the grated parmesan. Give it a good stir and cook the eggplant pasta for about 1 more minute. Garnish the pasta with grated parmesan cheese and some fresh basil leaves!