20-Minute Eggplant and Spinach Penne Pasta
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Cook time: 
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Recipe serves 2, but can easily be doubled or tripled.
  • 1 medium-sized eggplant (about 350g or 12 ounces), washed
  • 200g (7 ounces) dry penne pasta, I used whole wheat
  • 1 medium-sized onion (about 60g, or 2 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 400g (or 14 ounces) passata or tomato purée
  • two large handfuls (about 100g or 3.5 ounces) fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • salt and black pepper, to taste and to salt the water for the pasta
  • parmesan, to serve
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil to cook the pasta. Heat a griddle pan over high heat.
  2. Slice the eggplant lengthwise into 1-cm (or about ½-inch) thick slices and place the slices on the hot griddle pan. Crank the heat down to medium-high and cook the eggplant slices in batches, turning them once they have a nice charred griddle pattern, about 1-2 minutes per side. Once both sides are charred, transfer to a plate and set aside.
  3. Add the dried pasta to the boiling water, salt the water, and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions (usually about 11 minutes). Make sure to stir every now and then.
  4. In the meantime, heat a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Peel and chop the onion, add the oil to the hot pan, add the onion and cook for about 2 minutes over low heat, or until translucent. Add the spinach and cook for a few minutes until welted, stirring regularly.
  5. Mince the garlic and add it to the spinach and onion pan. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Chop the eggplant into bite-sized cubes, then add it to the pan, along with the passata and balsamic vinegar. Cranck the heat up to high and stir until the sauce comes to a boil. Don’t forget to stir the pasta every now and then. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. When the pasta is cooked, drain it. Add the sauce to the pasta, divide over two plates and top with fresh Parmesan shavings. Serve immediately.
Recipe by The Tough Cookie at https://thetoughcookie.com/2016/04/13/20-minute-eggplant-spinach-penne-pasta/