A dear friend turned me onto Emily Bites, a "cooking light" kind of blog with droolworthy recipes. There, I spotted a recipe that made the clouds part and angels sing. That or I was really in the mood for pasta.
Spicy Sausage & Eggplant Spaghetti Bake
From Emily Bites
1 large eggplant, cut into 1-inch square pieces
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided in 2
4 oz dry wheat spaghetti
1 cup red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lb hot Italian turkey or chicken sausage, casings removed
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup 2% or skim shredded Mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided into 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
Basil leaves, sliced (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400. Spray baking sheet to coat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss eggplant with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste, until eggplant is lightly coated. Spread eggplant in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
- While the eggplant bakes, bring a pot of water to a boil, then cook the spaghetti until it is al dente. Drain pasta, reserving about 1/3 cup of the pasta water. Set aside.
- While the water is boiling and/or pasta is cooking, pour the other tablespoon of olive oil into a large pot and heat on medium. Add onion and cook for a few minutes, until soft and almost translucent. Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add sausage to garlic and onions, breaking up into chunks with a wooden spoon. Stir in marinara and turn heat down to low.
- When eggplant is ready, remove from oven and set aside. Turn oven down to 375, spray a baking dish and set aside.
- Add drained spaghetti to sauce mixture and stir to coat.
- Add mozzarella, 1/2 cup of Parmesan and the 1/3 cup of reserved pasta water, stir until well combined.
- Pour mixture into baking dish and spread out evenly. Top with bread crumbs and remaining Parmesan.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until bread crumbs are golden brown and cheese is bubbling.
- Top with basil leaves (optional) and serve.
|Eggplant, not hash browns|
- This is a great recipe to make on Sunday and bring to work for lunch all week.
- Yowza, this dish was hot! The sausages had enough heat for me, so next time I'll do without the crushed red pepper entirely. I had to add extra cheese and sauce so I could eat without pain.
- There's debate over whether peeling eggplant is necessary. I did for this dish, but will refrain next time to see if there's a noticeable difference. Plus, the New York Times told me not to.
- Hey ShopRite, thanks for driving me batshit crazy. Why on earth would you put all of your wheat pasta, including non-organic brands, in the organic section?
- Get the bread crumbs without cheese to lighten this recipe up further. There's already lots of cheese in here, how much more do you need? Don't answer that.
- It helps to chop up the onion and garlic prior to starting. I felt rushed getting everything together on the fly, and burned the onion while mincing the garlic.
- Speaking of rushed, there's a lot of "doing stuff while other stuff is going on" which stressed me out a little. I need to work on time management or just chill out.
- Use a large pot to saute the onion and garlic. It'll be easier to add everything else to it later.
- I used Thin & Trim Spicy Italian Chicken Sausages. I don't think they were encased, but that didn't stop me from trying to remove the casing from one poor sausage anyway. I gave up after that one. Oh, and they're already cooked so no need to worry about disgusting raw chicken.
- Recipe calls for a 7x11 baking dish. All I had was 9x13. It came out fine, just flatter.