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Eggplant Bolognese Pasta

Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant diced into ½-inch (1 cm) cubes
  • sea salt
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon 50 mL + 15 mL virgin olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon 2 mL chili flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon 1 mL dried oregano
  • 1 can 28 ounces/796 mL crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup 250 mL vegetable stock OR water
  • ¾ pound 341 g whole-grain or gluten-free long pasta of your choice, such as spaghetti or linguini
  • 6 whole fresh basil leaves plus extra chopped, for garnish
  • ½ cup 125 mL pitted Kalamata olives, finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the diced eggplant with a generous sprinkle of sea salt. Let the eggplant sit for 10 minutes to release some of its water. Pour the salted eggplant into a colander and rinse with fresh water. Dry the eggplant pieces as thoroughly as you can with a kitchen towel, and then lay them on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Toss the eggplant with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of the olive oil and the salt and pepper. Spread the eggplant out into a single layer. Slide the baking sheet into the oven, and roast until the eggplant is tender and has browned slightly, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
  4. In a large, deep skillet (or braiser), heat the remaining ¼ cup (50 mL) of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, stir, and sauté for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the chili flakes and oregano, and stir. Add the tomatoes and vegetable stock to the skillet, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Lower the heat and simmer the sauce for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  6. Drop the basil leaves into the tomato sauce and submerge the leaves. Cover the sauce and let it continue to cook for 10 more minutes.
  7. Remove the basil leaves from the sauce, and season it with salt and pepper. Add the roasted eggplant and chopped olives to the sauce, and stir to distribute. Carefully toss the cooked pasta in the sauce. After the noodles are coated in sauce, sprinkle the chopped basil on top. Serve the pasta hot.