How to Make EGGPLANT PASTA like a Calabrese

Eggplant pasta, in a word, is a food-gasm. It is a classic Calabrian dish, also known as “Pasta alla parmigiana”, that Italian Nonni have transported the world over and it is phenomenal. It’s my wife’s favourite pasta dish and she can devour so much of it (it’s a little scary), especially when her Mum makes it. Imagine an eggplant parmigiana, turned into a pasta dish. Did you picture the sweet taste of the eggplant, tomato and cheese? That is the exact flavour that will hit your tastebuds, every, single, bite. Eggplant pasta should be a staple on your list of rotating pasta favourites. Try it, share it and never stop making it!

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3 x large eggplants
Fresh basil
1 red or brown onion
4 garlic cloves
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper
4 heaped tabelspoons of breadcrumbs
4 heaped tablespoons of Pecorino cheese
1 x 700ml bottle Italian Passata
1 x tin peeled tomatoes
500g spaghetti (You can choose your favourite)


1. Eggplant pasta requires tender eggplants. If you are able to find smaller ones that are tender, buy a large quantity to make up for the size.
2. Peel the skin off the eggplants and discard. Then cut the eggplant into strips, approx. 1cm/half an inch thick.
3. Cut these in half, then into long strips and put them into a colander.
4. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt over the eggplants and mix this through using your hands.
5. Put a large plate on top of the eggplant, then put a weight (eg: kettle filled with water) on top, a large bowl underneath the colander and leave to the side.
6. Next, it’s time for the eggplant pasta sauce!
7. Finely chop the onion and garlic cloves.
8. Turn the stove on to a medium heat and warm a generous drizzle of EVOO along with half of the chopped garlic and all the onion.
9. Stir the onion and garlic until it starts to turn golden. Add ground pepper and chill (optional).
10. Blend the tin of peeled tomatoes, add to your passata, mix well, and pour it into the saucepan with your garlic and onion.
11. Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt into the sauce, mix it using a wooden spoon then leave to simmer for 30 minutes on a low heat.
12. While the sauce is cooking, lift the weights and plate off the eggplant and remove the bowl from underneath.
13. Next, squeeze a handful of eggplant at a time into a bowl or kitchen sink to remove excess water, placing them into a dry bowl.
14. Place a medium size saucepan on the stove at a low heat, drizzle a generous amount of EVOO.
15. Add remaining garlic and stir, letting it sizzle.
16. Place the eggplant into the saucepan and mix gently, simmering for around 5 minutes or until soft.
17. Test whether the eggplant is tender using a fork and if so, turn the fry pan off.
18. Add the eggplant to the sauce and mix through so it is completely covered.
19. Cook the eggplant pasta sauce for another 15-20 minutes, checking it every so often, gently mixing it.
20. Boil the water and cook your pasta according to packet instructions for time.
21. Add a few fresh leaves of fresh basil to the eggplant pasta sauce.
22. Combine the pecorino and breadcrumbs, pouring it over the top of the sauce. Cover with a lid and leave while you strain the pasta.
23. Scoop 2 x generous serves of fresh sauce into the pot (that had the pasta in it) and layer half of your pasta on top, add more sauce, the rest of the pasta then cover again.
24. Add a few more basil leaves, then gently mix the eggplant pasta so everything combines really well and serve.
25. Always add extra sauce on top of each serving – the eggplant is the hero so scoop up a generous amount!

See also  Italian Grandma Makes Homemade Ravioli



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