Did you know that the eggplant is actually a variety of berry? I learned that from television, so don't tell me all those hours I've wasted staring at the glowing box were for not. However I learned this recipe not from the TV, but from Everyday Food, of course. It was one of their reader submitted recipe's and had been on my to-cook list for quite some time. I decided to make it one weekend so that I could stock the freezer with the leftover sauce. I'm planning on doing a big cooking weekend soon, so I can stock the freezer even more, but this was a good start. I will definitely make this recipe again, when I'm out of my leftovers that is.
Recipe from Everyday Food; Serves 8
8 tablespoons olive oil
1 large eggplant (about 1 lb.), peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed), finely chopped
1 zucchini (about 8 oz), quartered lengthwise, sliced inch thick crosswise
1 garlic clove, minced
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 lb. ground beef chuck
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 lb. rigatoni or other short tubular pasta
Parmesan cheese, shaved (optional)
- In a Dutch oven or large (5-quart) saucepan with a lid, heat 6 tablespoons oil over medium-high. Add eggplant; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; set aside.
- Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to pan; reduce heat to medium. Add onion, bell pepper, zucchini, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened, 7 to 10 minutes.
- Add beef; cook, stirring and breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, 5 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, add tomatoes, oregano, and eggplant to beef-vegetable mixture; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thick and eggplant is tender, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain; serve topped with sauce and, if desired, Parmesan.