Much to my delight one of the first foods that Miss Grace really mastered and enjoyed was pasta and ever since has loved and adored countless pasta dishes. Through our pasta adventures and with much trial and error I feel confident in saying we have pretty much nailed the pasta types that best suit bubby’s at the beginning of their baby led weaning journey. Penne, rollini and fusilli seem to be the best thanks to their easy to handle nature and wonderful sauce carrying abilities! Grace has had no dramas whatsoever nibbling on these perfectly crafted pasta styles.
Usually Miss G. worships her pesto penne but today with a little overcast and gloomy weather looming I decided to prepare a super simple tomato sauce spiked with lovely cubes of fried eggplant, oregano and garlic to provide a little simmering comfort. For me, there is no sight more homely than that of a huge saucepan bubbling away on the stove top filled with a rich homemade tomato pasta sauce.
This eggplant and tomato penne is an incredibly simple supper and can be on the table in less than 20 minutes making it a perfect meal during the mid week madness.
As many great sauces do this sauce starts with a little chopping action. Start with chopping a large onion and a couple of cloves of garlic.
Next chop up an eggplant into lovely chunks.
Heat a little olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Add onion and eggplant and fry stirring until the onion is translucent and eggplant is tender and golden.
Add the passata, water, oregano, balsamic vinegar and sugar and stir to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce has slightly thickened and the eggplant is lovely and tender.
Add the cooked penne and toss to combine.
Taste the pasta and sauce to check your seasoning, add a little salt if desired.
To serve, sprinkle with a little freshly grated parmesan and roughly chopped parsley.
Eggplant and tomato penne
500 grams penne
Olive oil, to fry
1 onion, chopped
1 eggplant, chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
600 ml passata
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
A small handful of oregano leaves, chopped
Parmesan and fresh parsley to serve
Cook penne in a large pot of salted boiling water according to packet instructions. Drain and reserve. Heat a fry pan to medium heat, add olive oil, onion and eggplant and fry until cooked and slightly golden. (Depending on how ‘thirsty your eggplant is you may need to add a little more olive oil as you fry). Add garlic and cook for a minute. Add passata, 1 cup water (collect water with the empty passata jar and swirl out the remaining passata), balsamic vinegar, sugar, oregano and stir to combine. Cook for 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly and eggplant is tender. Taste the sauce to check for seasoning and add salt/pepper if desired. Add penne to sauce and stir to combine. To serve, sprinkle with grated parmesan and parsley.
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