Eggplant Penne Pasta with How to Prepare Eggplant

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on July 21, 2009

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This meal is sorta “2-n-1″…it could be vegetarian…or it could be done with meat or diced chicken!

Here’s the lowdown…

Since I only used 1 cup of the crushed tomatoes, I ended up using the rest to make spaghetti sauce for the boys while I’m gone this weekend.  Before stashing it in the fridge, I tossed about 1 cup with the eggplant and pasta for the boys…then tossed the eggplant and pasta with cheese for us.  Make sense?  I don’t normally make “2 for 1 meals,” but that’s how this meal played out tonight.

So could be meatless, or toss in a bit of your favorite meat and spaghetti sauce!

Also, today I sliced up my green pepper and orange pepper with an onion and froze them.  I wanted to make chicken fajita pizza tomorrow night before I leave, but that’s not gonna happen…rather than let it go to waste, I froze them so that I could saute them with the chicken next week when I can make that pizza!

Ingredients
2 small eggplants ($1.50) $.75 a piece from the farmer’s market stop!
Couple dashes of salt
16 oz. whole wheat penne pasta ($1.49)
1-2 tsp olive oil ($.05)
Pepper
Bunch of parsley, basil leaves and rosemary leaves (free from the garden)
2-3 garlic cloves ($.10)
1 cup crushed tomatoes ($.30)
1/2 – 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese ($.40) From the freezer from a few weeks ago when just $1.25/2 cups!
4 ears of corn ($.68) From the freezer when on sale a few weeks back…$.17 each

**Add 1/3-1/2 lb. ground beef for the meatier version! Plus $.75!

Directions

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1. Slice eggplants into 1/2 inch cubes or slightly smaller.

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2. Place in colander and sprinkle with salt.  Set colander in the sink and let sit for 30 minutes.  The salt will remove the bitter juices from the eggplant and the dish will be much tastier!  After sitting for 30 minutes, rinse with cold water and then add to skillet for sauteing.

3. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain and return to saucepan.  Chop fresh herbs.

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4.  Saute egglant with the fresh herbs in olive oil for about 3-4 minutes, or until begin to brown.  Stir often.

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5.  Add 1 cup of crushed tomatoes, or tomato sauce/diced tomatoes.  Stir through.  Add cooked pasta and shredded mozzarella cheese.  Toss and let simmer over low heat for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese melts.

6. In glass baking dish, add corn cobs with 1/4 cup of water.  Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 4-5 minutes.

7. Serve Eggplant Penne Pasta with Corn Cobs.

Cost $4.52 for meatless, $5.27 for meaty version

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

FitFoodie July 21, 2009 at 6:38 pm

I’m always wondering what to do with eggplant and this is a great idea! I can’t wait to try it :)

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KeriLyn@SheSaved July 21, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Oh YUM….I am growing my own herbs this year, so I am so excited about great recipes like this – plus I never know what to do with Eggplant! This looks great, thanks!!

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LuAnn July 21, 2009 at 10:43 pm

I’d love to try things with a little less meat, cause DH is a “meat and taters” guy…and there’s not too many taters.

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Natalie July 22, 2009 at 8:00 am

Your recipes look so fresh and delicious! Im a trainer and coach so my clients are always looking for recipes full of vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins! We’ll definitely post a link to your site on our website and Facebook page. Thank you for helping other learn to cook with fresh and healthy ingredients!! -Natalie

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Shannon July 22, 2009 at 10:38 am

We are not big fans of eggplant but always get a lot from our share from the community farm. I usually just give it away,but think I will try this. I am also wondering if you could use squash (yellow or zucchini) in place of the eggplant.

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Erin July 22, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Absolutely…you just wouldn’t need to salt and zucchini and yellow squash! Skip that step…otherwise it would be great…I’m actually making another pasta salad with those tonight…stay tuned!

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Kristyn July 22, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Just thought I’d stop in to give a little dish-saving (and plastic tree saving =D!) hint… instead of taking the husk off the corn and putting it in a dish… leave the husk on the corn and place it on a paper towel in the microwave. Microwave 1 1/2-2 minutes per ear of corn. I make it like this every time and it comes out perfect! Just be careful when removing the husk afterwards, it’s super hot!

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Stephanie July 23, 2009 at 7:15 am

Do you think the eggplant would be ok if this dish was frozen? I know pasta can be frozen if undercooked. Never tried to freeze eggplant before though. Looking for something new for my meal exchange group.

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Melanie September 3, 2009 at 8:35 pm

tried this tonight and it was delicious! We haven’t been big eggplant fans, but I keep wanting to find ways to try and enjoy it. When I saw your “salting” tip I thought there was hope! Thanks for sharing!

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Sara October 23, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Looks like a good recipe to me. Simple recipes are always the best. I’m gonna try to add this to my regular list of pasta recipes.

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Tina December 30, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Yum! This looks amazing. Tried eggplant parmigiana the other day, was good, wasnt entirely sure how to prepare the eggplant, so it probably could have been better.

Will most definitely try this..

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Jessica September 14, 2011 at 12:00 am

This was absolutely delicious. Homegrown eggplant was so sweet! The salt worked wonders, thanks for the tip.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom September 14, 2011 at 6:46 am

You’re most welcome…glad it helped and that it was delish!

Erin

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anitha June 22, 2012 at 5:02 am

well Erin I am from India where vegetables are cheaper than US. I wanted to incorporate eggplant into a pasta dish. Your recipe really made my day. Now I can incorporate many other veggies in the pasta dish. Thanks mine turned out a 2$ dish.

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Flo Werner February 25, 2013 at 9:50 am

I made this with eggplant from my garden that I had frozen, and instead of the crushed tomatoes I used a cherry tomato puree that I also had made and frozen, used whole wheat rotini and no mozzarella cheese. My boyfriend and I are fighting over who gets the leftovers!

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Flo Werner September 18, 2013 at 9:44 am

Just made this again….with bowties and I used some tomato puree, some frozen tomato sauce and frozen diced tomatoes (a little of each) and about 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and a little ground turkey…..this recipe is unbelievable. I rarely ever make anything twice. This recipe will be a mainstay as long as we grow eggplant (which is every year!).

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