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Pasta with Cheesy Eggplant & Sausage

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Servings: 6


  • 1.5 lbs sweet Italian sausage (3 or 4 large)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 4 cups eggplant cut into 1/2 inch dice (about 1 large)
  • 1 head garlic cloves, peeled & minced
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 lb tubular pasta (I used casarecce, but penne or rigatoni or fusilli would work)
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, chopped


  • Use a knife to cut a slit lengthwise through the casing of each sausage. Peel off the casings and discard.
  • Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a large nonstick skillet and set aside.¬†Use your hands to rip off small (roughly 1/2 inch) pieces of sausage, and place them in the skillet, doing your best to evenly space them.
  • Place the skillet on the stove top over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often with a spatula to break up the sausage pieces, until the sausage is nicely browned, about 10 minutes. When the sausage is done, use a spatula to move it from the pan to a large plate or bowl & set aside.
  • Reduce the heat to medium, then add the diced onions to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until softened and just starting to turn golden.
  • Add the eggplant and cook for another 8-10 minutes, or until the eggplant is starting to caramelize and is softened.
  • Add 1 more tablespoon of oil, the minced garlic, capers, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste to the pan. Stir to combine, and cook for about 1 minute, until the garlic and spices are fragrant.
  • Add the white wine to the pan and cook for a minute or so until the liquid is mostly evaporated. Next, add the diced tomatoes with their juices, the tomato sauce, and the sausage back to the pan. Stir to combine, cover, and let simmer while you cook the pasta.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions, until al dente. When it's done cooking, drain the pasta & set aside.
  • Turn off the heat on the pasta sauce and stir in the parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Place a portion of pasta in each of the serving bowls & top with sauce. Enjoy! Goes great with simple side salad and herbed garlic bread.