Perfect Cozy Veggie Meal: Roasted Mushroom and Eggplant Bolognese
I feel like eggplant is one of those things that people have a strong love or a strong dislike for … I’ve never met anyone who is ambivalent about the purple nightshade. I’m firmly team let me eat all the eggplant, in case you hadn’t guessed.
Like a lot of folks, my first run in with eggplant was fried (looking at you, eggplant parmigiana). Then I discovered French (ratatouille), Greek (moussaka), and Middle Eastern (babaganoush) food as an adult and well, who needs fried foods anyway?
What I’m saying here is my love for the Coneheads shaped fruit (it has seeds, y’all) has grown to the place where I can eat it in any which way I encounter it. Which is how it ended up in my bolognese the other night, because: why not?
This dish is PACKED with veggies an would make a great Meatless Monday meal if that’s something you do … and if you don’t, this is still a delicious meal for any old night. It would be especially yummy on a cold, crisp fall night if, you know, THE WEATHER WOULD ACTUALLY COOPERATE. I mean: my body is ready, my brain is ready, my wardrobe is ready … any day now, fall. Any. Day. Now.
Since this is a post about a pasta dish I feel compelled to say I don’t eat much pasta these days and if I do I eat what some might call “crazy-fancy” pasta … meaning I don’t eat white flour pasta at all if I can help it. I’ve tried A LOT of pastas over the years (whole wheat, veggie, protein, omega-3) and have been known to eat pasta substitutes (spaghetti squash, zoodles, shirataki noodles) and I am currently eating chickpea pasta (which happens to be gluten free for those of you who have that need). Yeah, you read that right: chickpeas. Their texture is different form regular pasta – but not the strangest consistency I’ve run across for pasta. Chickpea pasta has got some protein hidden in there, which is nice from a “eating pasta messes with my macros” standpoint. Not sure when I became this person, but yeah: I watch my macros daily and have a sweet point I try to hit that works for ME (but maybe not you or anyone else). #shrug
To recap: fall where art thou?; this Bolognese is the bomb dot com and would be the perfect dish for a cold, crisp fall night; I have tried so many different pasta substitutes (did I miss one, tell me what your fav is); I also kinda need to make this dish again because I have an acorn squash staring at me from the kitchen counter.
SIDEBAR: Have you read Code Name: Verity? And by read I mean listen to the audiobook because really the narrators are beguiling and MAKE the story. If you need an audiobook get this one, trust me. I don’t care if you don’t normally read YA books – JUST DO IT. And then, after you’ve recovered from experiencing Verity you can take on Rose Under Fire, the sequel. And then after all that you can come find me on Twitter and we can gush and weep and all that.
Roasted Mushroom and Eggplant Bolognese
modified from The Kitchn
yield: 10 servings
1 eggplant, (about 11 ounces), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
10 ounces button mushrooms, stemmed and cut into 1/4-inch dice
3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 tsp fine salt, divided
1/4 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup celery stalks, finely chopped
2/3 cup carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp dried basil
1 cup red wine (I used Pinot Noir)
3 TBSP tomato paste
1 (28-ounce) can no-salt added crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
cooked pasta of your choice
grated parmesan (optional)
Preheat oven to 400F
Combine the eggplant, mushroom, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl and toss to combine. Transfer to an unlined cookie sheet and bake for about 25 minutes; set aside.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until simmering. Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, and basil and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the wine and tomato paste; increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a boil, and cook until thickened, 5 to 6 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, sugar, and the reserved eggplant and mushrooms. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and the color deepens, 38 to 40 minutes. Stir in remaining salt.
Are you an enjoyer of eggplant or no? And, don’t forget to let us know of any other pastas we missed.0