Or not spicy, depending on who you are catering for. This is a simple and excellent dish you can throw together at whim. You’ll make a ridiculously easy tomato sauce. you’ll roast little cubes of eggplant, and you’ll boil the pasta of your choice. That’s basically it! Shall we get started?
Eggplant belongs in everything.
I love love eggplant. I didn’t always, but it has grown on me so much. I like it in Middle Eastern food and in Italian food. When it’s done right, it adds so much to a dish! Here, we’ll prepare it very simply (and in a very versatile fashion), and then toss it in our tomato sauce. You can use roast eggplant cubes in salads, curries, pasta.
Salting the Eggplant
I like peeling strips off my eggplant to keep a little texture on. Cube the eggplant, then salt it over a colander. What this means, is you put a colander in the sink, put the eggplant cubes in it, and sprinkle generously with salt. Leave to stand for 30-45 minutes or until small beads of water appear on the eggplant. At this point, you rinse the eggplant and pat it dry thoroughly with paper towels. What this does is remove the bitterness from eggplant-nothing worse than a bitter eggplant! If you are using smaller eggplants you may be able to skip this step, but I nearly always do this anyway as a fail safe.
Roasting the Eggplant
Many people prefer frying their eggplant. To me it’s just an added mess and added calories. I’ve never had trouble with just oven roasting them. You need an oven at high heat (around 220 C or 425 F), a parchment lined baking tray, and to drizzle the cubes with olive oil, sprinkle with a little bit of salt and herbs of your choice, and roast away for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Stir the eggplant halfway through cook time to avoid burning or uneven cooking. I often do roast eggplant slices/cubes in batches and freeze any extra- it’s a great freezer food!
Your incredibly simple Tomato Sauce:
Canned or fresh diced tomatoes, or a mix of both like I did here. Some olive oil, some sliced garlic, some hebs and red pepper flakes. That is it. You don’t need a heavy tomato sauce or this dish so I don’t add tomato paste or canned tomato sauce. Think light and textured and bursting with flavor.
Putting it all together:
Toss the eggplant cubes in your finished sauce, then toss your prepared pasta in the eggplant tomato sauce. Scoop it on a plate and finish with a big spoon of ricotta cheese. It’ll be saucy, creamy, and delicious. Finish with fresh basil if you have any!
Spicy Eggplant Pasta
- 500 g eggplant 1 pound
- olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 fresh tomatoes, diced See note
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- Handful fresh basil
- Cook your pasta of choice according to package instructions. I love linguine for this, angel hair pasta or normal spaghetti. When pasta is done, reserve some of the cooking water before draining and setting aside.
For the eggplant:
- Heat oven to 220 C (425 F). Wash the eggplant, peel strips of the skin off and dice it into 1/2 inch sized cubes.
- Place eggplant cubes in a colander over the sink, sprinkle well with salt and leave 30-45 minutes or until beads of water appear on the eggplant. Rinse the eggplant and dry it very well with paper towels.
- Place the eggplant cubes on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and stir around. Return to oven and cook for a further 10-20 minutes or until eggplant is golden brown and cooked through. This would be a good time to start your sauce, while your eggplant is cooking.
For the sauce:
- In a skillet over medium heat, add a big drizzle of olive oil. Saute the sliced garlic for a couple minutes or until starting to soften. Add the diced fresh tomatoes, canned diced tomatoes, the oregano and dried basil (or sub Italian seasoning) , the red chili flakes. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 20 minutes or so or until sauce has thickened slightly.
- Toss the eggplant cubes in the sauce, then toss in your cooked pasta noodles of choice.. If the sauce needs to be thinned slightly, add in some of the reserved pasta water.
- Serve by garnishing with fresh basil leaves and topping each plate with a big dollop of creamy ricotta cheese. Enjoy!
Note: The above Nutritional Facts are for sauce only.