This spicy sausage dish makes use of two garden staples—tomatoes and eggplant. Simmer the pasta sauce until it’s nice and thick, then toss it with maccheroni Pugliesi and Parmesan cheese for a rustic yet decadent dish. Cool down with a crisp, floral, and slightly sweet Elderflower Rosemary Fizz.
Yield: 8 servings
- 1 pound maccheroni Pugliesi pasta (or any short-cut pasta)
- 1 1/4 pound Italian turkey sausage, removed from casings
- 1 large eggplant, 1/2-inch dice
- 5 tomatoes on the vine, 1/2-inch dice
- 1 cup water
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1/2 cup packed basil leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
- 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- Baby basil leaves, for garnish
- Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Add water to a large stock pot, season liberally with salt, and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta per the package directions until al dente.
- Bring a 12-inch high-sided nonstick skillet up to heat over medium high. Add 2 tbsp. of EVOO, along with the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, until golden brown and cooked through.
- Add another 2 tbsp. of EVOO to the skillet, then the diced eggplant. Sauté for 7 to 8 minutes or until it begins to soften and turn golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir the tomatoes, water, basil, and chili flakes into the skillet. Season with more salt and pepper, and let it simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often until the tomatoes break down to form a sauce and the eggplant is tender. (If it reduces too quickly, turn the heat down to medium low—the sauce should be thick but not dry.)
- Turn the sauce to low, add the pasta directly into the skillet and toss together, adding pasta water if it looks too dry. Add in the Parmesan, toss, and taste for seasoning.
- Serve in shallow bowls with a sprinkle of Parmesan, a drizzle of EVOO, and basil leaves.
Recipe and photos by Megan Mitchell.