So today’s a big day.
It’s a big day because Jay has decided to give away his secret Italian sauce recipe, and because this Rigatoni with Eggplant and Buffalo Mozzarella recipe was so good I thought I had just eaten something incredibly horrible for me. Okay, so all the cheese isn’t necessarily the best for you, but nonetheless, it is all natural!
Begin by prepping all of your ingredients such as the cheese, eggplant, and sauce. We began by making the homemade tomato sauce and started that about 1 hour prior so it had plenty of time to simmer. The recipe for that is below but you can also use your favorite store brand and make this meal simple and quick.
I wasn’t sure how large a “ball” of cheese was so I used ¾ of a round of cheese from the Safeway…it was too much. I recommend using ½ of a round of mozzarella cheese. Next, I skinned my eggplant with a sharp knife (your usual peeler might not work since the skin is so thick). The recipe allows for skin on or off but I’m not the biggest eggplant fan so removing the skin allowed it to blend into the sauce and cheese a bit easier.
Next, get the water boiling and start heating some oil in a large pan. I made a slight adjustment and added ground turkey to this recipe for some extra protein but the recipe is good either way. Start by sautéing your ground turkey but if you use this you won’t need much oil…just a drop or two to get things started. By now your water should be rolling so add your rigatoni. Now the turkey should be browned so add your chopped eggplant. If you didn’t use the turkey the eggplant will brown in about 3 minutes but with the turkey it takes about 6-7. Don’t forget to add the red pepper flakes to taste. I always use a bit more and since I have some extra meat in there I doubled what the recipe called for.
Once the eggplant is browned, drain off the fat from the ground turkey, or just add the sauce if you only have eggplant. Add 3 cups into the pan for vegetarian version and 6 cups if you added meat. Simmer the eggplant, optional meat, and sauce in the pan so that everything cooks together for about 5 minutes if you have made your own sauce or until the sauce is heated if it is out of the jar.
Drain your pasta and put it into a very large mixing bowl. Add your cheese and the contents of the pan and mix it all up so that the cheese melts throughout and everything is as even as you can get it.
Ready to eat! It was soooo goey and delicious. We added a twinge more red pepper flakes than it called for (of course) and it was perfect! With the added turkey meat, we had a nice big meal for six. It was perfect for the chilly night and would be a great dinner party food!
I don’t know why our rigatoni looks nothing like the picture in the attached recipe we linked to, but I think it has to be better!
So here’s the recipe for Jay’s family tomato sauce:
I sauté 1 small onion, 2 cloves of garlic, and some green and/or red peppers until the onions start to become translucent.
Then add some mushrooms and sauté until they begin to brown.
Next, add 2 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes, 1-12oz can diced tomatoes and spices to taste. I use rosemary, parsley, sugar, red pepper, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper.
Let everything simmer for as long as you can on as low heat as you can…this depends on how soon you need the sauce and/or how much time you are willing to spend. If you do have all the time in the world substitute fresh/whole tomatoes for the crushed and diced and smash them after they have been simmering for a bit.