Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Roasted Japanese Eggplant

Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Roasted Japanese Eggplant

Here’s my first recipe post of the new year!  I thought I would surprise you with an Italian pasta dish.  Italian cuisine is very popular in Japan and Tokyo has some of the best Italian restaurants in the world.  I have tasted some of the best pasta and pizza in Tokyo.  After Japanese food I can honestly say that Italian food is our favorite to eat and one of my favorites to prepare, especially pasta.  We love pasta.

When we returned to Seattle, after spending Christmas at our Tokyo home, I was craving something tomatoey with pasta.  I must crave a particular dish in order to get excited about preparing it.  This is usually how I decide what I’m making for dinner almost every night.  I happened to have Penne pasta and a can of San Marzano tomatoes on hand then I started thinking about eggplant and this dish came to mind.  I have prepared this pasta dish many different ways over the years.  I love using fresh tomatoes in my sauce in the Summer and will often use Spaghetti or Linguine instead of Penne.

I thought it was time to finally post the recipe.  This dish is one of our favorite pasta dishes, it’s simple to throw together at the last minute plus it’s meatless!  I love cooking all types of food and I will be sharing more than just my Japanese recipes with all of you.  I hope you enjoy this pasta dish as much as we do.  If you can’t find Japanese eggplant you can use regular eggplant.  Slice in one inch rounds and roast as directed below.

Ingredients:  serves 4

6 small Japanese eggplant, unpeeled with tops removed, sliced in half lengthwise
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (I use San Marzano)
1/4 cup red wine (I used Zinfandel but any red wine is fine)
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
4 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound penne pasta
1/4 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Roast the Eggplant:
Place the eggplant on a baking sheet.  Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil making sure the oil is covering both sides of the eggplant and a little on the baking sheet so they do not stick.  I love using my hands for this.  You can rub the oil all over the eggplant and the baking sheet very easily.  Spread the eggplant in an even layer with the cut side up.  Roast in the oven until tender, turning over once halfway through when the cut side turns slightly brown, for a total of about 35-40 minutes.  After eggplant is soft and browned remove from oven and slice into 1 1/2 to 2-inch pieces.

Prepare the Tomato Sauce:
In large pot add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sauté the onions over medium low heat until softened.  Add the chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon sea salt and the red pepper flakes and continue to sauté for a minute until fragrant.  Add the red wine and can of tomatoes.  Continue to simmer on low heat for ten minutes stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the pasta following the package instructions and cook al dente, stirring occasionally.  Drain and add to the tomato sauce and toss.  Add the chopped Eggplant and Basil and carefully mix everything together until combined.  Top each serving with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Serve immediately.

Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Roasted Japanese Eggplant
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 6 small Japanese eggplant, unpeeled with tops removed, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (I use San Marzano)
  • ¼ cup red wine (I used Zinfandel but any red wine is fine)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Roast the Eggplant: Place the eggplant on a baking sheet. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil making sure the oil is covering both sides of the eggplant and a little on the baking sheet so they do not stick. I love using my hands for this. You can rub the oil all over the eggplant and the baking sheet very easily. Spread the eggplant in an even layer with the cut side up. Roast in the oven until tender, turning over once halfway through when the cut side turns slightly brown, for a total of about 35-40 minutes. After eggplant is soft and browned remove from oven and slice into 1½ to 2-inch pieces.
  3. Prepare the Tomato Sauce: In large pot add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sauté the onions over medium low heat until softened. Add the chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon sea salt and the red pepper flakes and continue to sauté for a minute until fragrant. Add the red wine and can of tomatoes. Continue to simmer on low heat for ten minutes stirring occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta following the package instructions and cook al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain and add to the tomato sauce and toss. Add the chopped Eggplant and Basil and carefully mix everything together until combined. Top each serving

 

Comments

  1. Love this!

    Swap Ricotta-Salata for the Parmigiano-Reggiano and you have the Sicilian classic Penne Alla Norma. (Ricotta-Salata is NOT the same as fresh ricotta. It’s salted and drained, usually sheep’s milk, and firm enough to grate.)

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