We came across some miniature eggplant at our local market the other day that were priced 10 for a dollar and we couldn't pass them up. Not only were they glowing like ameythst jewels, they're cute as a button too plus try and name one other thing can you get for a dime each in this day and age. Unbelievable huh?
I pictured using them in all kinds of different ways including but not limited to Moussaka which we haven't had on the menu for a while, or Ratatouille either for that matter but somehow after some pretty rich dishes on our holiday menu, it seemed like a good idea to have something a little more simple. Pasta always comes to mind when I'm thinking "simple".
Inspired by recipes from epicurious, myrecipes.com and a favorite Biba cookbook too, we kinda' winged it and started by roasting our ten little mini eggplants in a hot oven while the "sauce" was put together including onion, garlic, multi colored heirloom cherry tomatoes, a roasted red pepper rescued from the freezer and some white wine. Two hot Italian sausage links and one Sicilian style link cooked in another pan while the pasta cooked in another pot, then we put the whole thing together - hey, I didn't say it was a one pot dinner, now did I? Lucky for me it's my birthday week and Big Guy did the cleaning up!
Finished with dabs of ricotta cheese, chopped fresh basil, a dusting of parmesan and a drizzle of balsamic, the whole thing tasted like a garden fresh sunny summer day kinda' meal - the kind we all crave during this time of year - rich, velevety roasted eggplant in a light fresh tomato sauce with creamy ricotta and the bite of spicy sausage with summery peppery basil - uh yum!
Pasta with Roasted Eggplant, Ricotta and Italian Sausage (an original from JBug’s Kitchen inspired by epicurious.com, myrecipes.com and Biba)
10 miniature eggplant, cut in half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 roasted red pepper, chopped
1/2 pound assorted heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
2/3 cup white wine, divided
3 hot Italian sausage links (1 pound)
8 ounces pasta (I used penne) cooked per package direction
1/2 cup ricotta
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Parmesan cheese for garnish
Preheat oven to 450. Drizzle eggplant with olive oil and toss to coat well. Place onto a sheet pan with cut sides up and season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes until golden brown in color and cooked through (may have to finish them under the broiler to get color on them – that’s what I did).
Remove from oven and set aside. Meanwhile, cook pasta.
Drizzle a sauté pan with olive oil and place over medium high heat. Add sausage links and cook until browned on both sides, then add 1/3 cup white wine, cover pan and cook slowly for 12 to 14 minutes until sausage is cooked through. Reserve pan juices, but remove sausage from pan and cut on the diagonal into slices.
In another sauté pan heat a drizzle of olive oil until shimmering, then add onion and cook until onion starts to soften. Add garlic and cook additional 30 seconds, then add roasted red pepper, cherry tomatoes, Italian seasoning and white wine. Cook, tossing occasionally until tomatoes give up their juices and start to soften. Stir in cooked pasta along with reserved juice from sausages and toss to coat well. Add spoonful’s of ricotta cheese and Italian sausage slices. Cover pot and cook until cheese has melted and mixture is hot. Toss with roasted eggplant, drizzle with balsamic and garnish with fresh basil. Pass the parmesan. Serves 4 to 6.
Two year's ago - Savory Croissant Breakfast Bread Pudding