If you like eggplant, you are going to love this easy-peasy recipe. It’s rich tasting and full of wonderful flavors. Enjoy every bite!
Rigatoni is our go to pasta these days. It’s a hearty pasta with grooves to catch any sauce you put on it. When recently shopping at the market, I glanced over and noticed the eggplants looked fresh and firm that day. Since we all love eggplant, this was going to be dinner. Personally, I don’t make homemade pasta sauces that often. There are some really great pasta sauces on the market that actually taste just like a favorite Italian restaurant’s sauce. The one that I think is truly the best is Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce. It’s not cheep though. A 32 ounce jar can cost up to 8 dollars. When it goes on sale to 4 or 5 dollars I buy at least 5 jars. The other sauce that’s pretty close is called Victoria”. Has a nice sweet flavor. There are many other good quality jarred pasta sauces but this one happens to be my favorite. One tip I can give you is this, if you use a jarred sauce that doesn’t have the best quality taste, you can “doctor” it up to make it taste pretty darn good. Just saute some onion and garlic with olive oil and/or butter to brighten the flavors. Some of my friends add a teaspoon of granulated or brown sugar to add a bit of sweetness. Also, add some fresh basil at the end for a burst of freshness. Then, add in the jar of sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. You won’t believe how much better it will taste.
Now, for this recipe, it’s so easy to prepare. With only a handful of ingredients, you have a homemade, restaurant style pasta dish everyone will love. I happened to add some garlic and the half of onion that was left in the fridge but, you can leave out if you want. Try this recipe soon, it’s really tasty and hearty without any meat.
Shortcut Eggplant Tomato Sauce with Rigatoni and Ricotta
Yields: 4 servings
- 1 medium firm eggplant, rinsed, cut into small chunks
- 12 ounces uncooked rigatoni (about 3/4 of a 16 ounce box) Or, use the whole box
- 32 ounce jar marinara sauce, I used Rao’s
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter, optional
- 1/2 medium onion chopped, optional
- 2 cloves chopped garlic, optional
- 1 tsp salt for pasta water
- 1/4 tsp salt for sauce
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- pinch sugar, optional
- fresh basil and parsley for garnish, optional
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese, used part skim
- Cook pasta as per box. When done, drain and put back into pot, dab some butter or a teaspoon of oil, toss gently then cover and set aside.
- Meanwhile over medium heat add oil, onion, if using and eggplant. Saute until onion softens up and eggplant starts to brown. Add in garlic if using. Pour in sauce. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. The eggplant should be nice and tender. Taste sauce. If needed add salt and pepper with chopped basil. Cook another minute or two.
- Plate up, add a dollop of ricotta on each plate.
Before taking your first bite, look how beautiful this dish is! Enjoy every single bite!!
Note: Keeps in fridge up to 2 days.