Weeknight Dinner:Tomato, Ricotta & Eggplant Pasta

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I recently discovered how to make homemade cheese. I know, I know, why do I need to know how to make cheese – cheese  is one of those things that is easier to just buy.

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True. But ricotta, mozzarella and burrata are actually not that hard to make- they can pretty much be made and eaten all in the same afternoon. It is also a great way to get rid of extra milk that is hanging out int he back of your fridge waiting to expire.

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Ricotta seems to be what I am most comfortable with, mostly because you don’t have to form it or ferment it. Just boil and skim.( Sadly, I think Luke wishes it were homemade burrata. We would both be 800 pounds if I ever mastered burrata.) Plus ricotta is pretty versatile – you can use it for so many things, both savory and sweet. So that means we have a lot of ricotta hanging out in the fridge. In an effort to get rid of some of (by way of my belly) and make a quick and easy weeknight meal, I put together this pasta dish that is both delicious and hearty. You of course can use store-bought ricotta, but if you want to try, here is a great recipe for homemade ricotta.

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This pasta dish is really easy to throw together. Boil the pasta, make the sauce, eat. Easy peasy. If you want to make it even easier, slice the eggplant and then roast in the oven instead of roasting them in the pan. Once they are browned cut up and add to sauce. Eggplants are one of those vegetables that I love because they are kind of like eating meat, they are so filling. But if you wanted to add meat, by all means, you could cook some ground sausage or beef and throw it in there.
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What do you think, would you ever make your own cheese one day? Maybe you can master burrata and invite me over for some?

Enjoy!

Pasta with Roasted Eggplant, Tomatoes and Ricotta

  • 2 large eggplants, quartered lengthwise then cut into 2″ sticks
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes (or to taste)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • Fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 14-ounce cans of chopped plum tomatoes
  • 1 pound spaghetti or linguine pasta
  • 8 oz ricotta cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil

Add olive oil to large pan and place over medium – high heart. When oil is hot fry the eggplants until just golden and tender, adding a pinch of oregano to each batch( this may need to be done in batches). When eggplants are all cooked, remove from pan and add garlic, basil stems and red chili flakes to the pan(may need to add a little more olive oil). Cook for a minute or 2. Once cooked, add vinegar, tomatoes, eggplant, and salt and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, taste for seasoning and add torn basil leaves to sauce.

Cook pasta in boiling water until just tender. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain the rest. Return the pasta to the empty pot and add the tomato and eggplant sauce. Toss together on the heat, adding pasta water if necessary. Top with ricotta and basil, drizzle with olive oil and salt. Serve and eat.

Comments

  1. says

    I would totally make ricotta! Never tried it before though. I am growing eggplant in my garden and this look like a recipe I could try with it. For me, I like how eggplant looks a lot more than I like actually cooking and eating it! Beautiful photos- that blue is stunning with your dish.

  2. Stef Moss says

    This looks delicious. A big bowl of pasta goes perfectly with this cold, foggy July weather. Yum!

  3. Megan says

    Looks tasty! Chris makes ricotta too, and puts it on french bread with nutella. It’s especially good when the ricotta is still warm.

  4. Tara Q. says

    Adding these ingredients to my weekly shopping list now! Always looking for super easy weeknight dinner ideas!

  5. Suzan Hamilton-Todd says

    Looks yummy……..just picked up some beautiful small eggplants from local organic farmer here in Solvang….thank you for the tips and beautiful visuals………………………….”Cheers”

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