Work has started in full swing, and now our lives revolve around the study and the living room. And in between online zoom calls and phone calls, the constant question about what to cook for breakfast, lunch, and dinner looms large in the not-so-distant horizon.
While bulk cooking and leftovers from the cooking classes are always handy and rescue us often, one doesn’t want to eat them every day. So some evenings, I prefer making a quick non-Indian dinner that is easy to put together and different from our regular fare.
This Eggplant & Spinach pasta bake is that no-fuss weeknight dinner. I love that you can make the sauce in advance and fry the eggplants and refrigerate them and when ready to eat, boil the pasta, put everything together, and there you go, dinner is ready. If you are a meat lover, fry some Chicken pieces and add them to the sauce. Also, you can substitute the Spinach with Kale Or swiss chard.
· 1 Large Eggplant cut into chunks
· 2 cups of baby spinach or kale or swiss chard
· 4 large Roma tomatoes chopped
· 1 can of diced tomatoes, or you can use 4 more fresh tomatoes
· 1 onion finely chopped
· 3 cloves of garlic chopped
· 1 tbsp olive oil for the sauce + more oil to fry the Eggplants
· Dried herbs of your choice – I used oregano
· Fresh basil
· Salt to taste
· 1/2 tsp Sugar
· Crushed Pepper
· Cheese – I used a mix of Parmesan & fresh Bocconcini cheese or mozzarella
· Any pasta of your choice
Fry the Eggplants in olive oil till they are brown. Drain excess oil on a paper towel. You can choose to bake the Eggplants instead of frying them.
In the same pan in which you fried the eggplants add more oil if needed, else use the leftover oil in the pan and add the garlic and onion. Fry them till they are translucent.
Add the chopped tomatoes and the canned ones, salt to taste, and cover with a lid. Allow the tomatoes to cook on a low flame for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. We want the sauce to thicken.
Add the crushed pepper, herbs, and sugar and adjust the seasoning. Put the Eggplant & the spinach in the sauce and let it simmer till the pasta boils.
Boil the pasta as per the instructions and drain. Add it to the sauce and mix well, transfer to a baking tray and add the cheese of your choice and any fresh herbs that you want. Bake for 10 minutes or till the cheese melts.