This recipe was super out of my comfort zone – probably more so than anything I have ever posted! I would definitely call it a “hail mary” in football terms…
It was extremely experimental and used ingredients that I normally am not a fan of (eggplant…EGGPLANT!!).
Say extremely experimental five times fast…
See? I not only bring you yummy food but also entertaining tongue twisters!
You’re welcome ?.
Anyway, so…eggplant. I really dislike it. I have only liked it in two different situations:
Number One: Eggplant Parmesan. But…I mean…come on. Does that really count? The eggplant is deep fried and then smothered in cheese and sauce. I think I would like eating a pine cone after that preparation.
Number Two: Ratatouille. My sister-in-law gave me the most DELICIOUS recipe for ratatouille a few years ago, and it is one of our favorite things to make. It includes eggplant, but you can’t really tell because it is so thinly sliced and baked for quite a while.
The ratatouille is what gave me hope that this recipe might be yummy. I figured if I let the eggplant cook all day in the Crock-Pot with a bunch of other delicious things, it would become un-eggplant-y enough for me to enjoy.
That’s pretty much exactly what happened. The sauce turned out to be delicious! There is no visible trace of eggplant since you smash everything together once it has been simmering away all day.
I saw a picture on the cover of a magazine that used eggplant and fennel in a pasta dish, and for some reason that just made me want to try this out. It sounded really interesting and unique!
I really ended up loving this recipe. I loved the taste, I loved the texture, and I loved that it was something different and out of my comfort zone! My taste testers enjoyed it too (Seth and Boone).
Reasons why you should try this easy, tasty recipe out ?:
- With the exception of some vegetable stock and white wine, the sauce is made with only fresh vegetables. No canned tomatoes, no canned anything. It’s just eggplant, fennel, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. It simmers for a while and then you mash it together to form a yummy sauce!
- It’s SO EASY. Chopping a few veggies is the extent of your work here. You literally chop some stuff, throw it in, and let it go. Then add pasta…stir a few times while that’s cooking, top with cheese, and eat.
- It’s unique. The ingredients are unique, and the consistency is unique. The pasta isn’t smothered in sauce like most pasta dishes are. It is just a light coating, but the pasta cooks in the sauce which imparts so much flavor. So…lots of flavor, not a ton of sauce. I really liked that about it!
- Pasta. That deserves it’s own reason ?.
So I know I have mentioned a few times before that Seth is deploying soon. Well last week we were given three specific dates of when he might leave: one is soon, one is kind of soon, and one isn’t until November. We were really hoping it would be November so we could have all of October together and not have to think about him leaving quitteeee yet.
A few days ago we found out it is going to be the soonest date… ?. So sad.
I can’t say exactly where he is going or exactly when he is going for safety reasons, but we are allowed to say “the Middle East,” and we are allowed to say “sometime in October.”
I am still attempting to stay in denial for as long as possible! There is no point in thinking about it constantly, being sad, and ruining our remaining time together.
But keep Seth’s safety and my strength in your thoughts and prayers, please!!
When he leaves I’ll just make this pasta and stuff my face with it for a few days to feel better ?!Print
Easy Crock-Pot Italian Pasta
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 4 hours 40 mins
- Total Time: 4 hours 50 mins
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- 1 eggplant
- 1 bulb of fennel
- 1 onion
- 12 oz of cherry tomatoes
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3 cups vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
- 1 cup dry white wine (we used pinot grigio)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 box rigatoni pasta
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- Fresh basil for garnish
- Dice your eggplant, fennel (you’ll need to remove the core first), and onion into large chunks
- Slice your tomatoes in half, and mince your garlic
- Place all the vegetables in the Crock-Pot, and pour the wine and ONE cup of vegetable stock over top
- Season with salt and pepper, add in the Italian seasoning and pepper flakes, and stir everything together
- Add the bay leaf
- Cook on low for 4 hours
- Remove the lid, discard the bay leaf, and – using a potato masher – mash all the vegetables together until everything is pureed and there aren’t any large chunks
- Add the remaining 2 cups of vegetable stock and the pasta
- Stir everything together so all the pasta is coated in liquid. Press the pasta down into the sauce and vegetable stock so that as much of it is submerged in liquid as possible
- Cook for another 30-40 minutes (or until the pasta is cooked through) on high, stirring 2 or 3 times throughout to make sure the pasta is evenly cooked
- Stir in the Parmesan and mozzarella and season with salt and pepper
- Top with chopped basil and more cheese!
If you make this or any of my other recipes, be sure to Instagram it and hashtag #thegarlicdiaries!
In the mood for more yummy pasta dishes? Check these out: