Eggplant Pasta with Red Pepper and Tomato
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12 ounces whole wheat (or gluten-free) pasta, any shape you like
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium eggplant, — cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 pound)
1 large red bell pepper, — cut into 1/4 x 1-inch strips
2 cloves garlic, — minced
12 ounces prepared tomato pasta sauce
1/2 cup olives — (green, black, or mixed) pitted and chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs — such as parsley or basil
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese — for serving
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain, toss with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking, and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add the chopped eggplant and bell pepper and cook until just softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and sauté just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce, olives, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until warmed through. Stir in the lemon juice and zest.
Stir the pasta into the eggplant tomato sauce, adding a little more of the prepared pasta sauce as needed to moisten the noodles. Served topped with chopped fresh herbs and Parmesan. Enjoy immediately.
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