Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables. It has a firm, meaty flesh with an earthy and creamy flavor. Eggplant is a vegetable that absorbs the flavors of other ingredients it’s used with while still maintaining a distinctness of its own. It’s commonly used as a substitute for meat as a vegetable. When we make homemade pasta, we tend to favor this Spicy Eggplant Marinara Sauce over anything else. Bea and Tilly ask for this all the time! Then they ask for seconds, which makes me cringe since I greedily want the leftovers all for myself! Being a Mom is tough, especially when the kids start literally eating into your food savings!
This Spicy Eggplant Marinara Sauce is a rich, sophisticated, hearty, healthy, sauce that is rich in flavor and depth. And it has red wine in it! Yay!
There are some surefire ways that turn meaty eggplant flesh into a total bitter or mushy mess. If you don’t like eggplant, I would take a bet that you just haven’t had it prepared correctly. Eggplants need some attention and patience. Take a look at Bon Appetit’s Eggplant Common Mistakes—And How to Avoid Them.
To start this Spicy Eggplant Marinara Sauce, you will be using two methods to cook the vegetables. First, you will roast them and then you will finish them off with a slow simmer. I prefer the taste of roasted eggplant. The roasting will seal in the flavor, give the eggplant time to cook while not turning into mush, even after it continues to be simmered for hours after.
Roasting your Veggies
You will notice there are 4 whole cloves of garlic in this recipe. Yes, you should use that much garlic. No, it will not ruin the romantic evening afterwards! This meal should be enjoyed with plenty of wine, after all!
Dice up your onions, mince that garlic, and cut up your eggplant into a large dice. Since the shape of eggplant is so similar to butternut squash, Take a look at Butternut Squash Bread Pudding & Bourbon Cranberry Sauce for detailed instructions on how to dice the eggplant into even chunks.
Then put your vegetables in a roasting pan. Drizzle on olive oil, sprinkle sea salt, and black peppper. Toss to coat.
Roast this for 30 minutes.
Simmer & Wine!
Then heat up a deep nonstick skillet, or any nonstick pan or pot you usually use for making sauce. Using a nonstick pan will eliminate the need to use more oil while also giving a quick sear to the veggies to seal in even more flavor and texture.
To this you will add some red wine to amp up this Spicy Eggplant Marinara Sauce up.
Tomato paste is going to get the sauce even richer and bolder.
To this wine and veggie delight, add your crushed tomatoes and italian seasoning. The red pepper flakes are what makes this Spicy Eggplant Marinara…spicy!
Now all of that spice, roasted eggplant, and tomato scent will be wafting up. You won’t believe that it will just get better from here, but I promise, it will! Put a lid on it and let it simmer for at least 1 hour. 2 or even 3 is even better.
Take a look at this thickened sauce! You can just see how all of the flavors have married together. The eggplant is cute and chunky as could be. This is going to be amazing. But wait!
Sprinkle on a handful of mozzerella cheese and close that lid while you cook up your pasta.
You’re getting hungry, very, very hungry! Now go run out and get some eggplant, make this delicious Spicy Eggplant Marinara Sauce and tag me in the delightfully cheesy photos!
Spicy Eggplant Marinara Sauce
- 1 Large Eggplant, large dices
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1/4 -1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (go with your desired spiciness level)
- 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
- 2/3 cup red wine like Cabernet
- 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Chop up your onion, garlic, and eggplant. See post pics for sizes.
- Put in a 9 x 13 pan, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Roast for 30 minutes, tossing halfway to turn veggies.
- Heat a nonstick deep pan on medium heat.
- Put veggie mixture in and let saute for a minute.
- Add tomato paste and stir to coat.
- Add red wine and let bubble, stir.
- Stir in crushed tomatoes, crushed red pepper, and Italian seasoning.
- Cover and let simmer on low for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 hours.
- Fifteen minutes before serving, cover marinara mixture with mozzarella cheese.
- Serve over pasta.
- Use chunky Spicy Eggplant Marinara Sauce as a base for pizza sauce, in sandwiches, and more!
- Sprinkle on freshly grated Parmesan cheese for added cheesiness.
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