Almost one-pot tomato & eggplant pasta

Do you ever find yourself standing in the grocery store with not one SINGLE clue about what you feel like eating that night? So you sort of blankly circle the produce aisle, trying to remember that great idea you had on the walk/cycle/drive over? Or you look through your list and you can’t believe you ever had such a ridiculous, nay, repugnant idea as to make ______? And then you start to feel stressed by all of the purposeful movement going on around you, so you just grab whatever’s nearest and hope for the best?

eggplant pasta, easy vegetarian recipe

I feel like this happens to me a lot. And when it does, I gravitate towards one dish in particular: one-pot pasta. It’s a very clear-cut path through the grocery store to get everything I need: cherry tomatoes, parmesan, spaghetti, and – if our windowsill plant of the week (ahem) is on its last leg – some basil. The rest of the ingredients are things I tend to always have in my kitchen: onions, garlic, veggie broth…

This tomato & eggplant pasta was the result of one such harried visit.

eggplant pasta, easy vegetarian recipe

eggplant pasta, easy vegetarian recipe

Whichever genius came up with the idea of cooking your pasta in the same pan as your sauce deserves a day named after him/her. Or something. It’s just so easy! And delicious! And convenient!

The day I first made this pasta, I was craving that carb-acious goodness and simplicity, but also roasted eggplant. And so this pseudo one-pot pasta came to be. I do see the irony in turning on the oven for a one-pot meal, but what can I say? The heart wants what it wants. Roasted eggplant is pretty much as close as you can get to eating straight-up butter, with the added bonus that it won’t raise any eyebrows and/or cause heart palpitations.

eggplant pasta, easy vegetarian recipe

So on that note, I need to get back to work!

Hope you are all having a wonderful start to the week xx

Almost one-pot tomato & eggplant pasta

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Almost one-pot tomato & eggplant pasta

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
350 g/12 oz dry spaghetti
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
400 g (about 2 cups) cherry tomatoes, halved
2 eggplants, cut into even-sized pieces (about 1 cm thick)
olive oil, for baking
salt & pepper to taste
handful of fresh basil, plus more for serving
parmesan, for serving

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 225 c/435 f. In a big bowl, toss the eggplant pieces with enough olive oil to coat them - start with about 4 tbsp, then add more if needed - and a big pinch of salt. Lay flat on a baking sheet (preferably lined, or use extra oil) and pop into the oven for about 15 minutes.
2. In a pan over medium heat, bring the vegetable broth to a simmer. Add in all other ingredients (except for the parmesan and the extra basil). If a lot of your pasta is sticking out on the broth (like mine is in the picture above!), put a lid on the pan.
3. Allow to simmer for about 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan. If you've used a lid, remove it once the pasta has softened enough to be pushed down into the sauce (probably about 5 minutes) - the idea is for a lot of the liquid to evaporate, and a lid isn't conducive to that! The pasta is ready when it's soft, there is very little liquid left and you've got a light sauce.
4. Meanwhile, after 15 minutes in the oven, take the eggplant out and press down on it with the back of a spatula. This will allow any excess moisture to be released. Flip each piece. If things are looking quite dry, and/or if pressing down didn't release much moisture, toss the eggplant with a bit more oil. Then return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, or until the eggplant is golden brown and buttery soft.
5. Right before serving, toss the eggplant into the pasta. Then dish up, and serve with parmesan and some fresh basil. Enjoy!
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