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    Chunky Eggplant and Sausage Pasta Sauce

      By cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice

    February 24, 2018

    It rivals any Sunday sauce you can throw at it and is my new favorite sauce.

    I know I say that all the time but it’s the truth.

    The thing is – I love eggplant but I never know what to do with it other than make eggplant parmesan.That gets old fast.

    Now I’m going to change things up and tuck it intoallmy sauces.

    I’m kind of obsessed.

    I was afraid the eggplant would turn mushy and watery but it stayed firm yet soft.

    I cubed it and cooked it over medium heat with the peppers, onion, and garlic without adding any salt because it draws the water out. I cooked them until they were still firm but soft around the edges because they’re going to cook further in the sauce. I did the opposite of what I usually do and didn’t season them with salt and pepper until the end.

    The veggies are removed so the sausage can cook – sweet or hot – whatever you prefer – I happen to really like hot sausage for this – eggplant loves that pop of spice.

    A can of crushed tomatoes is stirred in along with Italian seasoning and simmered for a half an hour or so then finished with a bunch of fresh parsley to brighten things up.

    Spoon over your favorite pasta and dollop with ricotta or mascarpone cheese, my second favorite part of the recipe, after the eggplant.

    For a vegetarian version leave out the sausage and double the eggplant – add a couple pinches or more of red pepper flakes too.

    This makes eggplant so easy to love!!!!!!

    Really.

    Ingredients

    olive oil

    1 bell pepper, diced

    1 medium yellow onion, diced

    6 cloves minced garlic

    5 - 6 cups peeled, cubed (about ½-inch) eggplant (my eggplant weighed 1.4 pds.) (don't cut it early or it will turn brown)

    1 + ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided

    salt and pepper

    1 pound hot or sweet ground Italian sausage

    1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

    1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

    15 ounces Ricotta cheese, for dolloping on top

    your favorite pasta, for serving

    grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

    Directions

    1In a Dutch oven or large soup pot heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and add the bell pepper, onion, garlic, eggplant and ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring often about 10 minutes or until the eggplant starts to soften around the edges but is still firm in the center. Season well with salt and pepper to taste. Remove to a bowl and cover with foil.

    2Add the sausage to the pan and break it apart as it cooks. Once it's browned tip the pan and scoop out the excess grease.

    3Add the eggplant and veggies back in along with the crushed tomatoes, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper.

    4Bring to a simmer and cook 30 - 35 minutes, stirring often. Taste and season as needed.

    5Stir in the parsley. Serve with your favorite pasta with dollops of ricotta on top and a big sprinkle of Parmesan.

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