This Eggplant Ragu Pasta recipe has everything you love about a hearty Bolognese sauce, but has the added velvety, decadent texture of the eggplant, or aubergine. The kids do not know that we have hidden lots of healthy veggies into one of their favorite dinners!
- 2 small eggplant (or aubergine), diced
- 1 lb ground beef, extra lean
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, diced finely
- 28oz can peeled whole tomatoes
- 24oz Tomato Passata (or tomato purée)
- 2 teaspoons of salt (I love to use French flaky sea salt)
- 2 tbsp of Herbes de Provence (or Italian seasoning in a pinch - but they are not the same!)
- 1 tbsp of chili flakes (optional)
- 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 cups grated parmesan to serve
- 1 cup chopped basil
- Put a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.
- In a dutch oven, or large sauce pan, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat.
- Add in the garlic and onions. Stir for a minute or two until the onions become slightly translucent.
- Time for the diced eggplant as well as an additional tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of salt. Allow to simmer, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes until the eggplant flesh becomes soft. The color goes from white to a translucent brown color.
- Add in the diced peppers. Sautée for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Stir in the can of peeled whole tomatoes. Use your spoon to break them up, they will break apart so easily. You will see why I prefer to use whole tomatoes as opposed to diced tomatoes - canned diced tomatoes take forever to break down in a sauce!
- Break up the ground beef into pieces and add it into the pot. Stir immediately so that the ground beef blends in with the sauce in little pieces.
- *Le Chef's Tip: If you add the ground beef into the hot sauce the meat blends deliciously into the sauce, instead of creating chewy chunks when you brown the beef first. It makes for the very velvety, comforting texture of this sauce.
- Pour in the tomato Passata and the Herbes de Provence as well as the chili flakes if you like your dish to have a little kick (I don't add them if I am cooking for the kids). Bring up to a simmer.
- Stir and then partially cover.
- Let simmer for 20 minutes over medium heat, stirring every few minutes. You don't want the sauce to stick to the bottom of the pan!
- Meanwhile, cook your pasta as per cooking instructions. I like my pasta al dente or "to the tooth". For 6 people I would cook two packages of pasta.
- To serve, drain the pasta and then put back into its pot. Quickly add a few spoonfuls of your eggplant ragu to the pasta so that the sauce coats the noodles.
- Spoon the noodles into each dish and then top with a few generous spoonfuls of sauce.
- Top with freshly grated parmesan and basil.
What to do with the leftover sauce
This recipe is large because I am a big fan of making enough for leftovers. I put some in the kids lunch the next day and then serve it over polenta or squash another day in the week.
This sauce keeps for 3-4 days in the fridge (make sure you are reheating thoroughly) or a few months in the freezer. Eggplant Ragu freezes very well and tastes just as good out of the freezer when it is reheated over the stove.
For more on my freezer meal batch cooking check out this post.
How to stretch meat sauce
Feed 6 people with one pound of hamburger meat? It is possible when you add eggplant. Eggplant is a great way to economically feed more people. The French are experts at stretching a meal. They always choose quality over quantity and avoid food waste whenever possible.
How to dice an eggplant
First, cut the eggplant in half, lengthwise. Then make addition slices all the way down the length of each half. Now, slice strips into the halves, again lengthwise.
Then, slice across width wise in thin strips. It will make little cubes.
How to cook eggplant
Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables. When properly cooked, it has a decadent velvety texture that is absolutely delicious.
The problem with eggplant is that most times it is undercooked. If you don't take the time to sautée it properly before adding to a sauce it will likely remain rubbery and won't be nearly as enjoyable.
First sautée your diced eggplant in olive oil for 5-7 minutes until it starts to become translucent. Then you can begin making your sauce!
Keywords: pasta, eggplant ragu, meat sauce, pasta sauce, eggplant