When we were in Italy we ate pizza and pasta for just about every single meal. But a lot of the pasta was different then what we are used to here. My favorite part of most pasta dishes is the sauce. I really could care less about the pasta. But the pastas we had in Italy didn’t have a ton of sauce. The pasta was just lightly coated in the sauce but it was still super flavorful. And the sauces were different then what we usually make at home. Cliff had one with broccoli and sausage that he loved, loved, loved and another one with zucchini that he really liked. I am boring and I pretty much ordered gnocchi everywhere I went!
While we were in Italy both Kelly and Cliff ordered a pasta dish with eggplant. It was so good and we knew we needed to replicate it when we got home. And that is just what we did! Eggplant is not a vegetable that we eat a lot. In fact, I don’t think that I had ever cooked eggplant before. And I have only actually eaten it a handful of times. But we all really liked this dish and we will definitely be making it again. And each time we can eat it we can pretend we are back in Italy!
Here is what you’ll need. Actually, you only need 1 can of tomatoes.
Saute the eggplant with olive oil
Remove the eggplant and chop up your garlic and onion
Saute until fragrant
Add the crushed tomatoes
Allow to simmer about 15 minutes
Add the eggplant back to the skillet
Add the penne and season to taste
Add in the fresh mozzarella and allow it to almost melt into the pasta
Enjoy with a glass of wine and just imagine you are in Italy!
Penne with Eggplant
- 1 lb penne pasta
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 28 oz crushed San Marzano tomatoes
- 1 eggplant (about 2 cups), cut into bite sized pieces (do not peel)
- 1 cup fresh mozzarella, cut into small cubes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a skillet heat ½ cup of olive oil. Add the eggplant. Cook until the eggplant is soft but not mushy; about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the eggplant and set aside. Get your water boiling for the pasta. In the same skillet add the rest of the oil, chopped garlic, and the onion. Saute until fragrant. Add the crushed tomatoes and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the pasta to the water and cook slightly less than the instructions call for. You will finish the pasta in the sauce. Once the noodles are cooked, drain them and add to the sauce along with the eggplant. Coat with sauce and cook about 2 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Return the eggplant to the skillet Remove from heat and add the small cubes of fresh mozzarella. Toss everything to coat. Serve immediately!