Penne with a Spicy Eggplant and Mushroom Tomato Sauce

Penne Pasta with Mushroom and Eggplant

I'm still recovering after spending much of the summer in and out of the hospital. I am delighted to finally be home and have started making meals again. A craving for pasta was the inspiration for this thick and chunky, robust and luxurious tomato sauce featuring eggplant, cremini mushrooms and some spice for a bit of heat, all served over hot fresh cooked whole wheat penne. It's easy to prepare, especially once the preparation is done, and the pasta cooks while the sauce simmers away. I used whole wheat pasta because it has a pleasant chewy texture and makes for a nice contrast with the mushrooms and spices included in the dish. Serve with a crusty bread and you have a fine and filling lunch or dinner. Nothing else is really required and I assure your diners won't be leaving the table hungry.

Penne with a Spicy Eggplant and Mushroom Tomato SaucePenne with a Spicy Eggplant and Mushroom Tomato Sauce
Recipe by
Cuisine: Italian
Published on October 16, 2018

Hot fresh cooked whole wheat pasta served with a rich, thick and robust eggplant and mushroom tomato sauce

Preparation: 20 to 30 minutes
Cooking time: 40 to 45 minutes

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  • 1/2 oz (14 g) dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, and drained
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes and drained and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 small eggplant, cubed
  • 8 oz (225 g) fresh cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 or 2 cayenne peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 14 oz (400 mL) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium fresh tomato, chopped
  • 2 cups whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • fresh chopped parsley for garnish
  • vegan Parmesan for garnish
  • Soak the dried mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking water, and chop. Set aside.

  • Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. When hot, add the onion and sauté for a few minutes to soften. Stir in the garlic and sauté for another minute or two. Now stir in the tomato paste and the sea salt and cook for another minute.

  • Toss in the eggplant and fresh mushrooms and cook for 12 minutes until the mushrooms are reduced and release their liquid. Add a few splashes of the reserved mushroom and sun-dried tomato soaking water if the mushrooms and eggplant start to stick to the pan.

  • Toss in the chilies, herbs and spices, and stir for 1 minute. Pour in the red wine and balsamic vinegars and cook for another few minutes. Now add the dried mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and canned and fresh tomatoes. Stir until well combined and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often. You want a fairly thick sauce, but not too dry, so add a bit of the reserved mushroom and sun-dried tomato soaking water to the sauce if it gets too thick.

  • While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Stir in the penne and cook for about 10 to 12 minutes until tender (see the package instructions). Reserve 1/2 cup or more of the pasta cooking water. and drain the pasta well.

  • Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and lemon juice if desired. Stir the pasta into the sauce, stirring well to coat. Pour in some or all of the pasta soaking water to achieve your desired consistency. The sauce is best fairly thick so that it evenly coats the penne.

  • Serve hot garnished with fresh chopped parsley and a scattering of homemade vegan Parmesan cheese.

Makes 6 servings

Penne with Eggplant, Mushrooms and Spicy Tomato Sauce

Other pasta dishes to enjoy from Lisa's Meatless Kitchen:
Indian-Style Macaroni and Paneer Cheese with Spinach
Vegetarian Mushroom Bourguignon
Vegetarian Mushroom and Spinach Lasagne
Lemony Pasta with Broccoli and Chickpeas

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