We’re big fans of the classic eggplant pasta dish pasta alla norma but when we have a big appetite and are craving a pasta dish that is slightly more substantive we turn to our Eggplant Bolognese recipe prepared with large rigatoni.
Eggplant Bolognese is a meal in and of itself and combines delicate pieces of fried eggplant with satisfying ground beef and tomato sauce.
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large Sicilian or Chinese eggplant, cut into ½-inch pieces (you can peel the eggplant but it's not necessary)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound of ground beef (if you can find grass feed beef then give it a try)
- ½ pound of large rigatoni
- 3-4 cups of tomato sauce
- Grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 4-5 fresh basil leaves
- In large pan, saute the cubed eggplant pieces in extra virgin olive oil for 8-10 minutes and season with salt and pepper. The eggplant pieces should be soft to the touch and tender to soft when removing from the pan. Remove the eggplant from the pan and add the ground beef and a bit more olive oil; season with salt and pepper and saute over a medium to high flame for 10-12 minutes (making sure to break up the meat with a large spoon).
- Next, add the already prepared tomato sauce to the pan with the ground beef along with the cooked eggplant. Simmer for 20-30 minutes and add shredded basil during the last few minutes of the cooking process.
- When plating the dish, add the cooked large rigatoni to the pan with the sauce and mix well; adding some fresh extra virgin olive oil and grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano. Plate the pasta and grate a bit more Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano over the individual serving.