This pasta has EVERYTHING. Homemade tomato sauce with a dash of spice and ground turkey for some good fat and flavor. Delicious and healthy roasted eggplant and flavor packed sun-dried tomatoes are tossed with whole grain penne and fresh basil. It's finished with a few dollops of cool ricotta cheese leaving pockets of creamy deliciousness in every bite.
I like this recipe because you can control the spice factor. I used garlic chili paste and kept it somewhat mild to start. Feel free to amp up the heat factor or to use red pepper flakes if you don't have chili garlic paste on hand.
For an extra spicy dish, use both!
Fresh basil makes all the difference here. Make sure you add it at the very end so it doesn't wilt away in the sauce and maintains its bright green color and basil flavor.
To speed things up, sub the homemade bolognese for jarred bolognese or classic marinara. Personally I always reach for #raoshomemade if I'm using jarred. It's slightly more expensive but the ingredients are on point. Personally, if you're like me, once you learn how easy homemade sauce is, you'll just always keep crushed tomatoes in the pantry and save money on the grocery bill.
Spicy Roasted Eggplant and Ricotta Bolognese
4 Servings | Cook time: 30 minutes
Notes: Creamy ricotta, ample veggies and a little bit of spice make this dish a weeknight staple. Omit the ground turkey to make this vegetarian!
12-16 oz 93% ground turkey
1/2 tbsp olive oil plus 1/2 tsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced (~100g)
2 tbsp carrots, minced/grated
1 shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup water
1/2-1 tbsp chili garlic paste (or 1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes) more or less depending on spice preference
1 large or 2 medium eggplants
8oz whole grain pasta (penne or rigatoni)
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/2 cup fresh basil, plus more for topping
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Heat a large pot over the stove on medium with 1/2 tsp olive oil. Add ground turkey to the pot and use a wooden spoon to break up into pieces. Continue breaking the meat into smaller and smaller pieces until its nearly cooked through, 4-5 minutes.
Push the meat to the side and add the carrots, onions, shallots, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to the pot. Allow the veggies to cook in the grease of the ground turkey for a minute or two.
Toss the veggies, meat and seasoning every few minutes until veggies have started to soften. Add the garlic to the pot and toss for another minute or so until the garlic is fragrant.
Stir in crushed tomatoes and turn the pot down to low. Use 1/4 cup water to collect any remaining crushed tomatoes and add it to the pot. If using, add chili garlic paste and/or red pepper flakes to the pot. Cover and leave the sauce on low to simmer, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
Toss diced eggplant, remaining olive oil, salt and pepper together and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, tossing once until the eggplant begins to roast and brown. It will shrink in size slightly as it cooks.
While the eggplant cooks, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Season with salt and add pasta, cook according to package. Remove from water about 1 minute before being fully done. Reserve about 1/4 cup pasta water, strain and rinse the pasta.
Remove the eggplant from the oven.
Fold the eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes and pasta into the sauce. Cover and let everything cook together for another 2-3 minutes.
Stir in fresh basil and ricotta cheese. Serve warm topped with additional fresh basil and red pepper flakes for extra spice.
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Nutrition facts provided as a guideline only. Exact nutrition will depend on quantity, brand and ingredients used.