I have had quite a few recipe fails in the past week. Three fails, to be exact, which is a lot considering I only made four recipes total. I was starting to get pretty bummed about it because it’s frustrating to put a lot of work into something without any usable results. Obviously these weren’t my first kitchen failures, but it was definitely the first time I had so many back-to-back. Don’t worry, I only share the good stuff with you.
This is that good stuff. Actually, good doesn’t even begin to describe it. This dish wiped any negative cooking memories from the past week from my mind completely. They were all worth it if in some small way they contributed to me getting to make this pasta bake. The tomato sauce is cheesy to the point where you feel like you’re getting away with something. I’m the kind of girl that unscrews the cap of the Parmesan cheese shaker at Italian restaurants because that little sprinkle isn’t going to do it for me, so this was right up my alley. It’s also spicy, not in an overwhelming way, but enough that it has a nice kick to it. The pieces of spicy sausage and roasted eggplant throughout give the perfect amount of texture to contrast the spaghetti. I don’t post a recipe on here unless I really liked it, but this one is a must-make!
Spicy Sausage & Eggplant Spaghetti BakeSource: adapted from Plum Pie
1 large eggplant, cut into 1” square pieces
2 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt & pepper, to taste
4 oz dry wheat spaghetti
1 cup red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ lb hot Italian turkey or chicken sausage (make sure to get the spicy kind), casings removed
1 ½ cups marinara sauce
2 t crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup 2% reduced fat shredded Mozzarella cheese
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
¼ cup seasoned bread crumbs
a few basil leaves for garnish, sliced (optional)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 400. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, toss the eggplant cubes with one tablespoon of the olive oil and salt & pepper to taste until eggplant is lightly coated. Spread the eggplant in a single layer across the prepared baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
3. While the eggplant cooks, fill a pot with water, salt it, and bring it to a boil. Cook the spaghetti al dente according to package directions and drain, reserving about 1/3 cup of the pasta water.
4. While the water boils/spaghetti cooks, pour the remaining tablespoon of olive oil into a large skillet or sauté pan and bring to medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for a few minutes until onions are softened and almost translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook another 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up with a wooden or plastic spoon, until meat is cooked through. Stir in marinara sauce and reduce heat to low.
5. When the eggplant is finished roasting, remove it from the oven and turn the oven temperature down to 375. Lightly mist a 7x11 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
6. When the spaghetti is finished and drained, add it to the sauce mixture and stir to coat. Add the roasted eggplant and the crushed red pepper and stir until combined. Remove from heat for about 10 minutes. Mixture will still be warm.
7. Add the mozzarella cheese, ½ cup of the Parmesan, and the 1/3 cup reserved pasta water to the pasta mixture and stir until well combined. Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread out evenly. Sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and the bread crumbs over the top. Place the dish in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until the crumbs on top start to turn golden and the cheese in the pasta is bubbling throughout. Top with sliced basil leaves and serve.
Yields 6 (1 cup) servings. Weight Watchers P+: 9 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)
Nutrition Information per serving from myfitnesspal.com: 345 calories, 34 g carbs, 15 g fat, 21 g protein, 7 g fiber