Tomato Pasta with Eggplant and Mushrooms recipe
|Prep time||30 minutes|
|Cook time||40 minutes|
|Total time||1 hour, 10 minutes|
|Meal type||Lunch, Main Dish|
|Description||A quick and easy pasta combining fresh plum tomatoes, mushrooms, eggplant and meat. Throw it together quickly on a weekday for a satisfying dinner.|
Please note: only the ingredient list has been updated, you will need to allow for different cooking times, temperatures and quantities in each step.
- 17.5oz plum tomatoes (cored, seeded, and roughly chopped)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon sweet butter
- 4 tablespoons olive oil (divided into two equal portions of 2 tablespoons each)
- 1 yellow onion (peeled and chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (peeled and minced)
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest (grated)
- 1 eggplant (cubed)
- 10.5oz mushrooms (topped, tailed, and roughly chopped)
- 10.5oz ground meat (beef, pork, or veal or a combination)
- 3 tablespoons fresh oregano (or basil - roughly chopped)
- 1 packet spaghetti (or linguine or any long pasta)
- 2.6oz parmesan cheese (grated)
Core and seed the plum tomatoes. Place them with the sugar in a saucepan with a lid. Simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the tomatoes have lost their shape. Puree the tomatoes with a handheld mixer or in a blender. Set aside.
If you have a lot of lead time, salt the cubed eggplant and set in a colendar to drain. If you don’t, just skip that step and proceed with the next one: arrange the cubed eggplant on a wide plate and cover with a piece of paper towel. Microwave them for 2 minutes at high heat. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a deep-sided skillet until it begins to bubble. Add the mushrooms and sauté gently for 10 minutes. Watch carefully – the mushrooms will initially absorb all the butter, but then they begin to leech liquid. Continue to sauté until they begin to re-absorb their liquid. Tip them into a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the skillet.
Fill a stock or pasta pot with cold water. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil as you prepare the sauce.
Heat the remaining olive oil in the clean skillet. Sweat the onions and garlic until soft. Add the ground meat and the dried oregano and brown until the meat is cooked through (4-5 minutes.) Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, then fold in the eggplant and mushrooms, the lemon zest, and the tomato puree. Bring to a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer gently for an additional 5- 7 minutes. Remove the sauce to a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the skillet to prepare it for one more go.
When the sauce is done, bring the pasta water to a roiling, violent boil. Add the pasta, reduce the heat to medium, and cook according to package instructions until al dente. If the package instructions are in a language you don’t speak or read (as they so often are here in Russia) then cook for about 6-7 minutes before you begin to test it. The pasta should be just underdone slightly – a little chewy. Sure, you can throw it at a wall if you want…
Reserve ½-cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta in a colander, but don’t rinse it under the tap!
Heat the pasta water in the clean skillet until it is simmering. Add the pasta to it and cook on medium heat for 1-2 minutes until almost all of the liquid is gone. Add the sauce and the parmesan cheese and toss vigorously to combine.
Serve immediately topped with the fresh chopped basil and oregano!
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