- Rachael Ray - https://www.rachaelray.com -

Sweet Sausage and Eggplant Penne



Bring a large pot [2] of water to a boil.

Peel about half the skin from the eggplant in strips. Chop the eggplant into bite-size pieces; sprinkle with salt and drain for a few minutes on paper towels.

In a large skillet [2], heat 2 tablespoons EVOO [1] over medium-high, two turns of the pan [2]. Add the sausage and cook, stirring, until browned and crumbled, about 3 minutes, then add the onion, celery and garlic. Pat the moisture off the eggplant. Stir the eggplant into the sausage mixture; season with salt and pepper. Partially cover and cook to soften the eggplant, 6-8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and basil and simmer the sauce to let the flavors combine, 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, salt the boiling water and cook the pasta until al dente. Stir about 1 cup of the starchy cooking water into the sauce, then drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce. Adjust the seasoning. Serve in shallow bowls [3] topped with cheese and a drizzle of EVOO.