Spicy Eggplant and Pasta with Pancetta

Eggplant has its fans and its detractors. Even the most devoutly anti-eggplant zealot can't resist this savory combination of spicy eggplant, pancetta, and pasta.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ⅓ pound pancetta beef bacon, diced
  • 1 eggplant, diced
  • 1 (28 ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) container cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt, or to taste
  • 1 pinch white sugar, or to taste (Optional)
  • 1 pinch ground white pepper, or to taste
  • 1 (16 ounce) package penne pasta

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta; cook until browned on the edges, about 5 minutes. Add eggplant and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil; cook until eggplant is slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour marinara sauce, tomatoes, and wine into the skillet. Add red pepper flakes, black pepper, garlic salt, sugar, and white pepper. Stir and cover. Let sauce simmer until flavors combine, about 20 minutes.
  3. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add penne and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Drain; mix with the sauce.
The sugar may or may not be necessary depending on how sweet your marinara sauce is.
Recipes by Andrew Blaiman

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