A super easy pasta dish to prepare on a busy day, Quick Eggplant and Mushroom Pappardelle from my husband Robert is a crowd-pleaser!
Eggplant Mushroom Pasta
My fabulous, smart, handsome and supportive husband Robert also loves to cook. (Yes, he is pretty perfect!) Robert’s maternal grandparents came from Italy and he grew up enjoying big traditional Italian Sunday dinners at his Uncle Billy’s house. When he’s in the kitchen, Robert channels his Italian roots, crafting great pasta dishes – always without a recipe, and always with amazing results. This Eggplant and Mushroom Pappardelle is one of his more recent creations. A bit sweet, a bit spicy, a bit earthy -it has a mouth-watering combination of flavors!
In typical fashion, one evening Robert opened our refrigerator and pantry and started pulling out ingredients that looked interesting to him: eggplant, green peppers, onion, mushrooms, garlic, buffalo mozzarella cheese – and of course, pasta! After around 10 minutes of chopping, the kitchen quickly began to smell fabulous as Robert started sautéing the ingredients. Then, about 30 minutes later, his scrumptious vegetarian pappardelle was ready to serve! Full of flavor with just the right amount of spice, this dish has become a regular in our home.
Pappardelle is a type of egg pasta noodles that originated the Tuscany region of Italy. Pappardelle are, flat, long and ribbon-shaped that are very wide – around 3/4 to 1 inch (2 to 3 cm) wide.
Robert thought pappardelle was an excellent pairing with his “meaty” eggplant and mushroom sauce due to its wider noodles, which are perfectly suited to support the hunks of vegetables in his sauce. You can definitely substitute other pastas. I would recommend still staying with pastas that are on the heftier side, like tagliatelle or rigatoni.
Any type of mushroom will work in this dish, including a mixture of different kinds. My favorite is cremini, or baby Bella. Their flavor is stronger and a bit earthier, which pairs well with the eggplant.
The most widely available (and least expensive) type of eggplant in the U.S. is the Globe, or American, variety and they work perfectly in this recipe. With an oval (teardrop) shape and a deep purple color, they range from around 6 to 10 inches long. Their meatier texture adds a bit of heft to this vegetarian entrée.
How to select an Eggplant
Here’s what to look for when picking out an eggplant:
- No brown spots or other discolorations. These marks are likely to mean brown or damaged flesh inside the eggplant, which can be bitter.
- Smooth, shiny skin and a green stem. The outside of the eggplant should not be wrinkled or dull; if it is, it’s old and/or hasn’t been stored properly. And the stem should be green and not dried out.
- Fairly firm texture. Both the flesh and the stem shouldn’t be mushy. When you press on the side, it should spring back.
How to make Eggplant Mushroom Pappardelle
Time needed: 30 minutes.
This eggplant and mushroom pasta is super quick and easy to prepare. Here’s all you have to do:
- Prep the vegetables and cheese.
Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes. Slice the mushrooms. Peel and chop the onion; seed and chop the bell peppers (if using); finely chop the garlic. Lastly, chop the mozzarella cheese into 1/2-inch cubes.
- Sauté the vegetables.
Cook the eggplant together with the red pepper flakes in hot olive oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, peppers (if using), onion and garlic. Keep cooking, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are very soft, around 20 minutes. Turn down the heat if they are starting to brown too much before they get soft.
- Cook the pasta.
While the vegetables are cooking, cook the pasta per the package directions. My tips on Cooking Perfect Pasta will tell you how much salt to add and other keys to ensuring your pasta comes out perfect! Drain and set aside.
- Finish the sauce.
Drain any excess oil off the vegetables. Add the mozzarella cheese and gently toss.
- Plate and serve.
Place pasta in shallow serving dish or individual bowls – I like to use tongs and swirl the noodles around into a nice shape. Spoon the eggplant sauce over the top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley; serve immediately.
Can Eggplant and Mushroom Pappardelle be made ahead?
Yes you can make this dish ahead. Slightly undercook the pasta (by around 1 minute). Drain and toss with a small amount of olive oil – just enough to coat the noodles. (The oil keeps them from sticking together.) Cool the noodles, place in a zip top baggie and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before reheating.
For storing the sauce: cool, place in a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before reheating.
To reheat: put the sauce in a medium saucepan and warm over medium-low heat, stirring often. Bring a large pot of water to a roiling boil; add around a tablespoon of salt. Carefully place the cooked pasta in the water and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. This process will warm the pasta and wash off the oil. Drain and serve as directed in the recipe (and above).
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A super easy pasta dish to prepare on a busy day, Quick Eggplant and Mushroom Pappardelle from my husband Robert is a crowd-pleaser! A bit sweet, a bit spicy, a bit earthy – it has a mouth-watering combination of flavors.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 medium eggplants, cubed
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
- 1 1/2 medium green (or red) bell peppers, seeded and chopped (optional)
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 12 ounces sliced mushrooms (cremini, shiitake or a mix all work)
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- kosher salt, to taste
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 pound pappardelle pasta, or other wide noodles
- 12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, drained (if in water) and coarsely chopped
- shredded or shaved Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- chopped fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley, for garnish
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the eggplant and red pepper flakes and cook for 10 minutes.
- Stir in green pepper (if using), onion, garlic and mushrooms and cook vegetables are very soft, around 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- While the vegetables are cooking, cook the pasta per package directions (see my tips on Cooking Perfect Pasta). Drain and set aside.
- Drain any excess oil off the vegetables. Add the mozzarella cheese and gently toss.
- Place pasta in shallow serving dish (or individual bowls), top with eggplant mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley and serve immediately.