Pasta with Eggplant and Mushroom Ragu
Eggplant, mushrooms and diced tomatoes combine with onion, garlic and a splash of balsamic vinegar to make a rich tasting meatless ragu that's hearty and flavorful enough to satisfy vegetarians and meat lovers alike.
- 10 ounces pasta (cavatappi, penne)
- 1 large eggplant (about 1-3/4 lbs)
- Olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2-1/2 cups diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Parmigiano-Reggiano for grating
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a large, shallow baking pan with parchment paper.
- Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.
- Peel the eggplant and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. Transfer the cubes to a large bowl and drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.
- Arrange the eggplant in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and roast until tender and lightly caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- While the eggplant roasts, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, 1 minute more.
- Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook until they're golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Stir in the diced tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, tomato paste and oregano. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, then add the eggplant to the pan.
- Continue cooking for 7 to 8 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Stir in the parsley and reduce the heat to low to keep warm.
- Cook and drain the pasta according to package directions and return it to the pan. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- To serve, divide the pasta between four plates or pasta bowls. Top with the eggplant ragu and some grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.