Eggplant Bolognese

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Despite what the weather outside might be like, I am always in the mood for a plate of hearty pasta. Pasta anytime, all the time, is pretty much how I roll.

On this particular evening I went with an all vegetable version of pappardelle with eggplant, roasted peppers and pine nuts, finished off in cream. Although it required minimum skill and effort, this pasta does take some time. You gotta salt the eggplant, then let is sit for at least 30 minutes, then, rinse it before it's ready for the pan. Salting brings out some of the bitterness, and gives your eggplant a better texture, so it's worth to do it.
Eggplant Bolognese
Serves 4

1 lbs pappardelle
2 large eggplants, cut into small chunks or strips, I like the skins, but if you don't, you can peel them
1 large can tomato sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
heavy cream, I used nearly a cup, but you can use however much you'd like
3 tbsp roasted pine nuts
roasted peppers, sliced into thin strips
red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, sliced
fresh basil, handful
dried Italian herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil)
olive oil
salt and pepper

1) Salt your eggplant and set aside a colander for 30 or more minutes. Rinse and dry before use.
2) In a large pan with olive oil, add garlic and pepper flakes. Toast a minute, then add more olive and your eggplant. Eggplant loves oil, so you might need to add more as you go.
3) Cook your eggplant on all sides, until golden, then add your tomato paste and tomato sauce, and Italian herb mixture, salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 20 or so minutes, until your eggplant is soft. Add in your roasted peppers
4) Meanwhile, cook your pasta according to package instructions.
5) Add the cream and pine nuts to your eggplant and cook for another 5-8 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Add your pasta to the sauce and toss. Using additional pasta water in the sauce, if needed.
6) Served with fresh basil and Parmesan shavings.

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