Monday’s are the perfect day for making an easy meal that is both comforting and full of vegetables. Eggplant is a nice choice because it adds a hardiness to any dish without making it feel heavy because it’s a vegetable. The taste of eggplant sometimes mimics certain flavors of meat giving it an umami taste that can satisfy any palate.
Chinese Eggplant, a smaller eggplant variety, is less bitter than larger fruits (yes, eggplant is a fruit) and is terrific, especially when added to quinoa, sauteed vegetables or pasta. I prefer to roast eggplant in the oven because you use less oil and the darkened portions add a slightly charred flavor. You can always tell when eggplant is done because of its rich earthy smell that penetrates the kitchen — it’s just delightful.
In this recipe, I cook sliced eggplant and a jalapeno pepper on a sheet pan and then, toss it with hot pasta and freshly beaten eggs. The eggs become the creamy sauce giving this dish a fun carbonara taste, but with a bit more personality. This dish is super simple to make and it’s definitely a great way to start the week.
1 pound dried spaghetti
2 Chinese eggplants, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 jalapeno pepper
3 extra-large eggs, or 4 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese + more for serving
5 fresh Oregano sprigs – leaves removed, divided
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sliced eggplant and jalapeno on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 20 minutes. Remove sheet pan from oven and let cool. Remove seeds and stem from jalapeno and rough chop, set aside.
2. Slice shallot and set aside. Boil pasta for 10 minutes, drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water. In same pot as you boiled pasta, add 2 teaspoons olive oil and shallot. Saute for 1 minute and add roasted eggplant and diced jalapeno, cook for 1 minute.
3. Whisk eggs in a bowl and add 1/4 cup of pasta water, whisk until smooth – this prevents eggs from curdling when added to hot pasta. Add cooked pasta to eggplant mixture and toss. Drizzle in warmed eggs and continue to toss.
4. Add Parmesan cheese, 4 sprigs of oregano leaves and red pepper flakes, toss again. Place pasta in a bowl and top with additional oregano. Serve Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!