Rigatoni con Manzo e Melanzane (Beef and Eggplant)
This recipe is inspired by Chef Joshua McFadden and his recipe from Six Seasons, but it has a special Pre twist with our 80% lean ground beef. The higher fat content means less cooking oil and adds to the robust flavor of the recipe. This recipe is perfect for late summer/early fall since it's one of the best times for heirloom tomatoes and eggplant. And guess what? It's even better the next day.
PREP: 15 min.ACTIVE: 20 min.PASSIVE: 1 hr.DIFFICULTY Medium
1 tbsp Italian seasoning (should contain sage, basil, and oregano)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2 " rounds and then into 1/2" strips
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-pint cherry tomatoes, halved and quartered if large
1 tsp fresh oregano leaves
1/2 lb of rigatoni, dry
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese (grate yourself if possible)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
Place the eggplant into a single layer on paper towels. Salt it all over and leave to drain. After 15 minutes. Squeeze the water out of the strips and set aside in a colander for more draining. About 1 hour.
In a large bowl make the sausage: crumbles the ground beef into the bowl. Add Italian seasoning, dried oregano, garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Form into 4 flat patties.
Heat a large skillet to medium-high. Add olive oil and minced garlic. Stir until fragrant. About 1 minute. Do not let burn!
Place patties into the hot skillet with the garlic and let brown then flip to second side and brown. Break-up sausage into the pan and continue to brown until all pink is gone. Set aside with slotted spoon.
Squeeze your eggplant of water one more time. Add a bit more olive oil to your pan and brown the eggplant in the skillet on both sides in a single layer. You may have to do this in batches. Make sure your eggplant caramelizes otherwise it will just dissolve in the tomato sauce.
Once the eggplant is done, add all back into the pan with the tomatoes, oregano, a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir and let break down and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Or until the tomatoes are saucy. Pan too dry? Add some salt to help the tomatoes release their water. You can also add a bit more oil or water.
Bring a 4-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook until al dente. (firm to the tooth) Reserve 1 cup of cooking water. The gluten in the water will help to bind the pasta to the sauce. Drain the rest of the pasta and set aside.
Add the sausage back to the eggplant cook for 1 minute.
Add the rigatoni and both kinds of cheese. Stir carefully and add pasta water 1 tsp at a time until the pasta clings to the sauce.
10. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a side of Pecorino. Enjoy!
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