Rotini with Eggplant-Tomato Sauce

January 04, 2009

Early fall is tomato and eggplant season. Nature does a good job of providing natural pairings when vegetables are harvested together. This pasta takes advantage of both. The smoky flavor of eggplant is accented with the bacon in this dish and the fresh mint provides the perfect accent to the sweetness in the season’s ripe tomatoes.

8 oz. bacon, chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
½ medium eggplant, peeled, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed and mashed to a paste with the side of a knife
4 cups diced tomatoes or 1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
8 oz. rotini pasta

Brown the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until the bacon is almost crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove the bacon drippings. Add the onion, eggplant and garlic to the bacon in the skillet and continue cooking over medium heat 5 to 8 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the bacon is crisp, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper and bring the sauce to a boil. Cook over medium to medium-high heat 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are softened and the sauce is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Add the mint and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes to allow the mint to flavor the sauce but still keep the fresh taste of the herb.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain. Top with the sauce.

Serves 4

Copyright Janice Cole 2008

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