Recently, I feel like I could literally *drink* red sauce. It could have something to do with the fact that I finally discovered a pizza brand that makes a sauce that I actually like – shout out to Romeo’s in Frisco!
About a year ago, I decided to start making my own spaghetti sauce, and ever since I have been on a mission to perfect the recipe and tweak it to my precise liking. I’m getting close!!
We are trying to work a few meatless meals back into our routine each week, and eggplant is always a filling meat substitute. Oddly enough, I didn’t even miss the beef in this recipe! Maybe, just maybe, I might even like this version…..better?
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Serves 6 people
- 1 (16 oz) package thin spaghetti noodles
- 4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp butter
- Water for boiling
- 1 tbsp EVOO
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced (about 1/2 onion)
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 cup fresh carrot, peeled and diced (about two carrots)
- 2 cups eggplant, diced (one eggplant)
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 4-5 Campari tomatoes, boiled & peeled
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes, drained & chopped
- 5-6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp crushed red chili flakes
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
**All measurements for seasonings are my best guess. (Sorry!) It’s always better to start with less and add more to taste.**
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Freshly chopped parsley
- Start by allowing the eggplant to “sweat”. Add chopped eggplant to a colander, and toss with 1 tbsp salt. Let sit for about 20 minutes. Rinse well and pat dry before cooking.
- Bring a large pot full of water to a boil. Season water with salt and boil pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain well, reserving about 1 cup of pasta water for later. Add butter to noodles and toss to coat.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in onion and shallot and cook until translucent, about one minute. Add in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add eggplant and carrots to the skillet, and lightly season with a bit of salt and pepper. Pour in vegetable broth, and reduce heat to medium. Allow to simmer until vegetables are tender and most of the broth has evaporated – about 5 minutes.
- Next, add in tomato paste, sun dried tomatoes, and 1/2 of the chopped basil. Stir to combine.
- Hand crush your boiled, peeled tomatoes into the skillet, and add tomato sauce. Sprinkle in sugar, as well as all seasonings (salt, pepper, red chili flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning). Stir too combine, and reduce heat to medium-low. Add the remaining basil and pasta water. Allow to simmer for at least 10 minutes, but longer if possible.
- Add additional seasoning or sugar to taste.
- You can add noodles to the sauce, or you can serve the sauce over the top of plated noodles.
- If you don’t want to boil and peel your own tomatoes, you can easily substitute 1 (28 oz) can of whole, peeled tomatoes.
- It’s so important to salt your water as you boil your pasta! It has made a huge difference in the way my pastas taste, and taked the flavor from good to great, every time!
- The key to cooking eggplant is to pre-salt and let your eggplant sweat before cooking it. Don’t skip this easy and life-changing step!
- Pasta water! Don’t ever let me catch you making pasta and not reserving some of that delicious pasta water for the sauce! This helps the sauce stick to the noodles, the starch content adds a silky richness to your sauce and the salt content contributes to extra flavor.
- If you leave off the cheese, and triple check that your noodles don’t contain eggs, this is 100% vegan!