California Central Coast Recipes
Rotini with Eggplant and Sausage Ragu
Rotini with Eggplant and Sausage Ragu uses still in-season eggplant which is still available in most of our gardens or in the grocery stores. We combine this vegetable with a fennel sausage and make a wonderfully-seasoned--and very flavorful Ragu. This is "mama-cooking" and OH! So good!
Preparation time: 20 minutesCooking time: 30 minutes
1 pound Eggplant , sliced and cubed
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 to 3 Tablespoons Extra-virgin Olive Oil
1/4 to 1/2 Cup Canola Oil
1 pound Fennel Sausage (Or use fresh-ground sausage that's been doctored-up with 2 teaspoon dried fennel and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning.)
1 cup White onions , chopped
2 cloves Garlic , chopped
1 28 ounce can whole tomatoes , lightly chopped plus liquid
1 t. Dried oregano
1 cup Sangiovese red wine
Salt and Black pepper to taste
8 ounces Rotini pasta
Grated Parmesan cheese
1 Wash and dice Eggplant. Then lightly coat the cubed eggplant in the flour in a plastic bag. Shake off excess flour and set the floured eggplant cubes aside on a plate.
2 In a heavy-bottomed pan saute the eggplant in canola oil until lightly golden-brown on all sides. Remove eggplant and set on paper-toweled plate. Set aside. Drain off canola oil from pan.
3 Add olive oil to hot pan and saute the onion until softened, add in sausage and brown, breaking up the meat into a more crumbled-form. Brown meat. If sausage is greasy, drain off excess oil.
4 Add in garlic and saute until fragrant. (30-60 seconds.)
5 Add in lightly chopped canned whole tomatoes and their juices. Add in oregano and wine. Stir well and let wine reduce down by half.
6 Add in salt and black pepper to taste. Correct seasoning.
7 In the meantime, cook the pasta in a large stockpot of boiling water, for about 10 minutes to al dente or as directed on the package. When done, remove and drain the pasta well.
8 Add drained pasta to sauce and toss well. Serve immediately. Have grated Parmesan cheese available for topping the pasta at the table.
Serve this with a good red wine. A Sangiovese or Chianti would work really well.