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Saturday, January 3, 2009

Fiery Wagon Wheels

I adapted this recipe from EveryDay with Rachel Ray Magazine. It called for cubing up pork loin and then freezing and using the food processer to grind it with red pepper flake. I decided that since I had some hot italian sausage already in the freezer, I would just use that. I also added in some roasted eggplant, because, well, I just love eggplant and thought it would fit nicely, which it did. The original recipe says 6 servings, but I think it is easily enough for 8, maybe even 10 if you serve it with a salad and bread. I know we will be having the leftovers for lunch nearly all week.

Fiery Wagon Wheels

1 medium to large sized eggplant
1 pound hot italian sausage
1 pound wheel or rotelle pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 a large onion, chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, quartered
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
28 ounces of diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices. Spread out on baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Flip and repeat on reverse side.
  • Roast eggplant for 10 minutes, flip and roast ten minutes more. Remove from oven when done and cut into cubes.
  • After the eggplant goes in the oven, start a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and reserve 2 cups of the pasta cooking water.
  • In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Saute onion for 2-4 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute 2-4 minutes more, until both vegetables are soft.
  • Lower the heat to medium and add in the garlic. Cook about 3 minutes more.
  • Add the tomatoes and their liquid, simmer for ten minutes.
  • Start the sausage browning in a medium skillet. Stir occastionally and break part into bite size pieces.
  • When cooked, add sausage pieces to skillet with tomato sauce. Add 1 cup of the pasta cooking water to the skillet and scrape up any browned bits. Add to the sauce.
  • Simmer the sauce over low heat for 5 minutes.
  • Transfer cooked pasta to a large serving bowl. Add in cubed eggplant. Pour sauce over pasta mixture. Add in parsley, scallions and cheese. Toss, adding more pasta water if necessary.
  • Serve with extra parmesan for topping.

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