- Penne pasta - 2 cups
- Red Onions - 2 big chopped into medium chunks
- Egglplant - 1 medium size (I am talking about big fat purple one not the slim ones)
- Tomato paste or crushed tomatoes - 1 cup
- Salt - to taste
- Red chilli flakes - 1 tsp or to taste
- Cayanne pepper - 1 tsp
- Black pepper powder - 1/2 tsp or more to taste
- Olive oil - 4 TBSP divided use
- Dried Oregano - 1/2 tsp
- Dried Thyme - 1/2 tsp
- Red wine or dry sherry or cooking wine - 1/4 cup
- Garlic - 4 pods chopped finely
Wash and pat the eggplant dry. Slice them into 1/2 - 3/4 inch thick discs. Brush these with little olive oil. Heat a skillet and when hot add these eggplant slices oiled side down. Now brush the other side with olive oil and sprinkle some salt and pepper powder. Don't move the slices until they get a nice char. I usually use a grill to get this job done, but since not everyone has a grill, giving the method to do without one. If you do have a grill or a grill pan, go ahead and use it. Purpose of this is not to cook the eggplants completely, but to get a nice crust on them. Do this with all the eggplants and set aside.
In a wok or a sauce pan, Add 3 TBSP of olive oil. When hot, add garlic, onion. Add some salt and black pepper powder, cayanne pepper, red chilli flakes. Stir to combine and let it cook. Mean while, boil enough water for cooking the pasta. Salt the water generously and when it comes to boil, add the penne and cook til al-dente about 8 minutes. Drain.
Cut the eggplants into cubes. When the onions are cooked, add thyme, oregano and more cayanne if needed and add all of the eggplants. Since they are already cooked to certain extent, they will be done within minutes. Add tomato puree/paste/crushed tomatoes, red wine and let it simmer for a minute or two. Add the cooked penne and stir to combine. Adjust the seasonings and close the lid and let it be on low flame for 3 - 5 minutes. Serve hot/warm. Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave and served. This made enough pasta for 4 servings. And my kids including the picky eater ate it happily.
You could use any herb of your choice. I didn't have any fresh on hand so I went with dried herbs that I had. You can use hot sauce in the place of cayanne and that probably will give you spicier version.
Using red wine will not make this an alcoholic dish. Alcohol evaporates leaving just the flavor. In fact, unless someone tells you, you cannot even make out that there is wine in this.
I am sending this to 'Pasta Party' hosted by Jyoti of 'Panch Pakwan' along with my Butternut Squash Pasta.
Happy Cooking!! Pin It