Sundays are super easy leisurely days! No work, no school…we are all happy to lounge around doing nothing much. I love uncomplicated simple meals on these days. Mostly I work with whatever’s in the refrigerator. Its fun to whip up meals using bits and bobs. And that’s what led to this no- frill, rustic roasted eggplant mushroom pasta dinner.
Eggplant is an incredibly versatile vegetable, popular all over the world. Healthy and filling, this glossy purple vegetable ( actually fruit) is used extensively in vegetarian cuisine due to its creamy, meaty texture and earthy flavor. It stands up very well to grilling, roasting, baking, sauteing, frying. Its gorgeous in simmering curries, velvety dips, refreshing asian salads, raitas and of course our favorite baigan bharta!
That glorious taste also comes loaded with health enablers! Eggplant is a great source of fibre, iron, copper, and phytonutrients….things that help us fight anemia, boost our cognitive abilities, and helps us battle diabetes and blood pressure. Not too bad!!
In this lip smackin’ recipe, roasted eggplants and mushrooms meld beautifully with the fresh tomato sauce, caramelized onions and heaps of garlic giving the sauce a rich, well rounded taste. This sauce is truly the hero here. I can think of eating it with rice, on top of polenta or just scooping it with a crusty garlicky bread..more garlic, I know!!
I used feta cheese here as that’s what I had at home. Goats’ cheese, torn up mozzarella or shaved parmesan would be fantastic too. Rigatoni is a good pasta for tomato based meat or vegetable sauces as it holds the sauce well. Penne would be a good substitute.
This is a simple, unpretentious dish but it sure is a winner. Give it a try, I promise you’ll keep coming back for more!
Rigatoni pasta – 300 gm
Eggplant – 500 gm, diced
Mushrooms – 400 gm, quartered
Garlic – 8 cloves, whole
Onion – 2, thinly sliced
Dried thyme – 1 tsp
Dried oregano – 1 tsp
Chilli flakes – 2 tsp
Olive oil – 4 Tbsp
Tomato sauce 400 gm ( I used homemade)
Basil leaves – a handful
Feta cheese for topping
Salt & Pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to 220C. Toss the diced eggplants, mushrooms and whole garlic cloves with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Spread them out in a single layer on a baking tray. Roast for about 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables are browned and tender.
Put a large pot of water on the stove for the pasta. Cover and let it come to a boil. Add 2 tsp of salt and the pasta. Cook till al dente or just done. Drain the pasta, but do save a cup of the pasta water for later use.
Meanwhile, heat a large pan with the remaining olive oil. Saute onions with the dried oregano, thyme and chilli flakes, till nicely caramelized. This should take about 15 minutes. Add the roasted vegetables, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Let it simmer for a few minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Combine the drained pasta gently with the sauce. If it seems too thick add some of that pasta water you’d saved.
Sprinkle some torn basil leaves and feta cheese on top and serve immediately.