Roasted Eggplant Ragu + Pappardelle Noodles is a wonderful way to use your end-of-summer eggplant and work in a meatless meal into your week!
It is painful to admit, but I can feel summer winding down. School is back in session, the leaves are just beginning to think about changing color and the nights are cooling off fast. I love fall in Minnesota, but there isn’t much that can compare to long summer days…. except for maybe this pasta. Maybe. Well, it’s pretty damn close.
I wanted to try something different with some of our last few garden eggplants of the season, but I couldn’t quite swing my Eggplant Parmesan because 1) my eggplant was a little too narrow to create that eggplant “bed” that is needed for Eggplant Parm and 2) I just didn’t have enough time. Soooo, I thought I would incorporate some of the same ingredients as the Eggplant Parmesan, but put them together in a little different way. Boom – Roasted Eggplant Ragu.
Now, for those of you keeping track, Ragu is typically a meat-based pasta sauce – obviously, here I have switched out the meat for eggplant (I know – I am a genius) – the result was pretty amazing. The tomatoes were bursting with flavor, the eggplant provides an earthy flavor, a couple chunks of mozzarella or burrata cheese adds some savoriness…. all wrapped around thick pappardelle noodles (one of my favorites!) – if fall is coming, this is what I want to be eating.
- 1 medium-sized eggplant, cut into bite-sized chunks (about 1/2 to 1 inch chunks) (make sure egpplant is fresh – older eggplant can tend to get mushy when roasted)
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3–4 medium tomatoes, diced into 1 inch chunks
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon red wine
- 2 Teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 Teaspoon oregano leaves
- 1/3 Teaspoon basil leaves
- 5 garlic cloves, quartered
- 1 Teaspoon capers
- Mozzarella or burrata cheese to chunk on top.
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves for garnish
- Pappardelle noodles (approx. 6-9 oz) (gluten-free works too – I love this brand!)
- Preheat oven to 400.
- In medium-sized bowl, add eggplant, 2 Tablespoons olive oil and 1 Teaspoon salt; toss.
- On cookie sheet, lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick, place egpplant.
- Roast on second from top oven rack for 20-25 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, take cast iron skillet and add remaining Tablespoon of olive oil and garlic, bring to med-high heat.
- When garlic starts to get fragrant, add onion and let cook until starts to become translucent, while stirring.
- Then add tomatoes, wine, remaining Teaspoon of salt, oregano, basil and capers.
- Let simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes on high, or until sauce thickens – make sure to taste the sauce and add any additional ingredients to your liking. If sauce gets too thick, add additional olive oil or wine.
- Prepare pappardelle pasta according to packaging instructions (al dente is recommended).
- Add eggplant and stir together.
- Plate pappardell noodles and cover with Roasted Eggplant Ragu, chunk either mozzarella or burrata cheese (as much or as little as you like) and rip some fresh basil on top.
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