Roasted tender eggplant is the star of the show in this vegetarian pasta sauce. Packed with fragrant garlic in olive oil, oregano, basil and thyme then finished with parmesan, this dish provides delicious Italian-inspired flavors.
- 1small-medium eggplant, ends trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 1 28 ounces can tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tsp. dried thyme
- ¼ cup fresh basil
- Pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste
- ¼ cup grated parmesan, for garnishing, preferably freshly grated
- 4 cups cooked pasta of choice
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add eggplant cubes to the baking sheet. Quickly drizzle eggplant with 2 tablespoons of olive oil so all of the cubes are lightly coated. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
- Roast on the center rack for 25-30 minutes or until tender with a caramelized exterior, tossing halfway through.
- While eggplant is roasting, prepare the sauce. Over medium-low heat in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Then add oregano, thyme and tomato paste and turn the heat up to medium, incorporating the oregano, thyme, basil and red pepper flakes, if desired, and allowing the tomato paste to sear and get darker in color, moving around often, about 7 minutes.
- When tomato paste has gotten a nice sear throughout, add the can of tomatoes, including the juice. Add basil to infuse the sauce with flavor.
- Allow it to simmer until reduced down to a thicker, sauce-like consistency. Using a spatula or tomato masher, press down on the tomatoes so they get incorporated into the sauce. (If you desire a smooth consistency, blend tomatoes before adding them to the skillet.)
- Cook pasta to desired consistency while the sauce is cooking and eggplant is roasting.
- To avoid the eggplant cubes getting mushy, toss them into the sauce when you are ready to serve. Ladle sauce over pasta and top with a tablespoon of grated parmesan for each serving.