Big, gloriously coloured eggplant have arrived in our local market. I'm always a bit leery of Italian eggplant (as opposed to the Japanese eggplant I usually buy). Too often, I seem to end up with a vegetable that has a thick, bitter skin. I'm not usually a huge fan.
But, when the vegetable is fresh from the farm, I can't pass up the opportunity to try out a new recipe. I got this one from Clean Eating magazine.
I cannot rave about this dish enough. It has all sorts of delicious balances - sweet (raisins), salty (sausage), savoury (tomatoes and eggplant) and sour (vinegar).
Eggplant and Sausage Pasta
(adapted slightly from Clean Eating Magazine)
1½ tbsp olive oil, divided
1 large eggplant, cut into ½" cubes
freshly ground black pepper
8 oz pasta (I used Kamut & Spelt pasta)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large, fresh sausage (I used a herb and garlic pork sausage), casing removed and meat crumbled
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cups chopped tomatoes
¼ cup raisins
1 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ cup chopped parsley
kosher salt, to taste
½ cup low fat ricotta cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400º. Spread ½ tbsp olive oil on a large baking sheet. Toss eggplant with ½ tbsp olive oil and spread over baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with pepper. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown and tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook pasta according to manufacturer's directions. Drain and set aside.
3. Heat remaining ½ tbsp oil in a dutch oven. Sauté onion and sausage until onion is browned and sausage in cooked through. Stir in oregano, red pepper flakes and garlic. Sauté for an additional minute. Add in tomatoes, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer. Stir in eggplant, raisins, capers and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar and 3 tbsp parsley. Add pasta into pot, tossing to coat.
4. Serve with a dollop of ricotta cheese and a sprinkle of parsley.