Italian Eggplant, Sausage and Mushroom Medley over Penne
I know not everyone is fond of them, but I just find it hard to resist a plump shiny purple eggplant. Here I combined it with the other most divisive vegetable, mushrooms. Was it a risky choice? Maybe, but no one at our dinner table complained when they topped it with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and tossed it with penne!
- 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 12 oz. pre-cooked Italian turkey, chicken, or vegetarian sausage (use wheat/gluten-free, if needed), halved lengthwise and sliced
- 16 oz. penne noodles (use wheat/gluten-free, if needed)
- 1 large eggplant peeled and diced about 1 1/2 pounds
- 8 oz. button mushrooms halved
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 15 oz. diced tomatoes with their liquid, or use 5 fresh tomatoes
- 10 oz. marinated artichokes, drained about 1 1/4 cups
- 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1/3 cup fresh flat leaf parsley chopped, or use some parsley and some basil or mint
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese or to taste, for serving
- Heat a Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat, and when it is hot add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and sausage and sauté them for about 5 minutes until the onions are soft and the sausage starts to brown.
- Meanwhile, cook the penne according to the package directions.
- Add the eggplant to the onions and sausage and stir it gently, keeping the eggplant away from the bottom at first because it will scorch.
- Cook it for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the mushrooms, salt, tomatoes, and artichokes and simmer it for about 10 minutes until the eggplant and mushrooms are tender, or for up to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the vinegar and herbs, and serve immediately over the penne, refrigerate it for up to a week, or freeze it for up to 3 months.
Slow Cooker Directions:
- Combine all ingredients except the noodles, parsley, and Parmesan cheese in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 7 - 10 hours or on high for 4 - 5 hours. Serve as directed over cooked pasta, topped with parsley and Parmesan cheese. (Slow cooker cooking times may vary—Get to know your slow cooker and, if necessary, adjust cooking times accordingly.)
Do Ahead or Delegate: Cook the pasta and store tossed with a little oil to prevent sticking, chop the onion, cut and refrigerate the sausage, peel and dice the eggplant, halve the mushrooms, dice the tomatoes if using fresh, chop the parsley, grate the cheese if necessary and refrigerate, or fully prepare and refrigerate or freeze the dish. Scramble Flavor Booster: Use crumbled feta instead of Parmesan cheese, top it with toasted pine nuts or chopped walnuts, season it with freshly ground black pepper. Tip: Quality matters when it comes to balsamic vinegar. High quality varieties usually cost more but they are thicker, sweeter, and less acidic. If yours is too thin or weak, you can boil it down to create more of a syrup so it will more closely resemble traditional Italian balsamic. Nutritional Information Per Serving (% based upon daily values):Calories 391, Total Fat: 13g, 19%; Saturated Fat: 3g, 13%; Cholesterol: 100mg, 33%; Sodium: 443mg, 18.5%; Total Carbohydrate: 55g, 18.5%; Dietary Fiber: 7g, 26%; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 18g Like this recipe? Check out The Scramble's family-friendly meal plans to see just how simple getting dinner on the table can be!
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