about 40 minutes
Beef & Eggplant Buttered Orecchiette
1 lb Orecchiette pasta (penne or fusilli are good substitutes)
1 lb beef (ground or stir fry strips – your choice)
1 medium onion, cubed
1 small yellow pepper, cubed
1 small eggplant, cubed
½ c sundried tomatoes (packed in olive oil are nicest), sliced
½ c cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 tsp garlic granules
Pinch of cinnamon
½ tsp chili flakes (optional)
10 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
- 1/2 c fresh grated Parmesan
1 tsp butter for sauté
4 healthy tbsp butter to finish the pasta
Excessive amount of fresh grated Parmesan to garnish
Step by Step Instructions
Add the cubed eggplant to a bowl and sprinkle generously with salt. Toss to ensure the salt is well distributed and let the eggplant sit for about 20 minutes.
Once the eggplant has been sitting for 10 minutes put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. While you are waiting for the water to boil prepare the ingredients as noted above. When the water is boiling add the pasta and cook to al dente as per package instructions.
Once the pasta is on the go add a tsp of butter to a large skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions until they are translucent, then add the beef and sauté until it begins to brown, then add the sundried tomatoes, pepper (no salt yet), garlic, (chili flakes if you are adding them) and cinnamon. Keep it on low heat until the eggplant has been sitting for 20 minutes.
Once the eggplant is done sitting pour off any water that has accumulated in the bowl (no need to rinse the eggplant) and add the eggplant to the pan with the beef. Bring the heat back up to medium. Sauté a few minutes, then give it a taste and correct the salt and pepper as needed.
When the pasta is about a minute from al dente, add the peppers and cherry tomatoes and mix well and sauté for about 1 minute more.
When the pasta is done reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water, drain it well, then add the pasta to the skillet. Next add the pasta water and 4 tbsp butter to the pan and bring the heat up to medium high, stirring well until the pasta water has evaporated – about a minute, then turn the heat off and stir in 1/2 c fresh grated Parmesan.
Serve to pasta bowls, scatter with fresh basil, sprinkle very generously with fresh grated Parmesan, then sit down and enjoy!