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! ©2016, Rotini with Eggplant and Sausage Ragu
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
re-calculate ingredients for:


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

Preparation Directions.

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.

Wine and Food Pairing and Serving Suggestions.

Serve this with a good red wine. A Sangiovese or Chianti would work really well.

A tip from Sue!

Use A Pasta Pot for Pasta

If you like pasta and are planning on having it often, I recommend getting a pasta pot.

After trying different sets, the best one Iíve found was the original, least expensive one. Itís a stainless steel pot with separate built-in pasta basket. It also comes with a vegetable steamer. Something like it is available on the Internet for about $40.00. and at several local supermarkets as low as $30.00.

You donít need to have a real heavy pan---otherwise youíre going to waste all your time heating the pan instead of getting it to boil quickly. Don't worry about hot spots since all youíre going to be doing with it is boiling water.