Wether your in a chilly climate in just the first days of spring or in South Florida, this recipe is the perfect meal. If you need to warm up, this a the healthier way to excite the palate and feel indulgent. If you are like me- in humid Miami, then it is tomato and eggplant season and the bounty is at your finger tips. Either way this sauce is a new fave for The Naked Bite, pretty sure that it will be yours too!
Eggplant Tomato Bolognese with Quinoa Pasta & Zucchini
1lb eggplant, cut into chunks
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
8 cloves garlic
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing*
1-1/4 lb ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks (about 4 medium or 1 large can crushed tomatoes)
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1-1/2lbs zucchini, cut into thin ribbons on a mandolin or spiralizer**
6-8 large basil leaves, torn
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb whole grain, quinoa or brown rice spaghetti
Place the chopped eggplant, onion and garlic into a food processor and pulse quite a few times until well broken down and the size of a small pea. You will need to remove the lid and scrape the sides of the bowl down once or twice.
Heat a wide sauté pan on medium high heat, add the oil and immediately follow with the eggplant mixture. Spread mixture out evenly and allow to begin to brown without stirring for about 2-3 minutes. Then stir and brown for another 3-4 minutes.
While the eggplant is browning; place the chopped tomatoes in the processor (no need to wash the processor in between) and blend until nice and smooth. Transfer to the pan and add the wine, water and oregano. Stir well, reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the sauce is cooking; boil 3 quarts of well salted water in a large pot. When the tomato sauce is nice and thick and the water is boiling; add the pasta to the water and cook according to package instructions.
While pasta is cooking; add the zucchini and the basil to the tomato sauce and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir well to incorporate; the zucchini will wilt from the heat of the sauce. Taste, adjusting seasoning if necessary.
When cooked; drain the pasta and return to the pot. Add the sauce and toss well, adding a touch more olive oil if desired. Serve immediately with grated pecorino or Parmesan chees if you wish.
Tips & Notes~
*If you prefer not to cook with the olive oil you can start the sauce with a touch of coconut oil or grape seed oil and then finish with the olive oil when it is done cooking. This retains more nutrients in the olive oil.
**The wide blade of a mandolin slicer is best- cut down as close to the core as possible. See our Japanese Mandolin 101 video for a complete demo. You can also grate on a cheese grater but it will not be as long and easy to twirl with the spaghetti.