Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pasta with Pork and Eggplant

We have all been talking about how excited we are about the seasonal ingredients available to cook with. Pumpkin was one and I made Spiced Pumpkin Butter, another was eggplant.

Now I was never an eggplant kind of girl. I guess mostly because my mother never cooked with eggplant so I never had any exposure to it. Well I should say I never had any good  exposure to it. I have had a few nasty versions of Eggplant Parmesan that were so slimy with oil they were barely identifiable as anything remotely edible, let alone eggplant. So I guess in the back of my mind I equated eggplant with slime (eewwwww right?).

Move forward in my life to when Kevin and I got together. Even though we have been together for almost 3 1/2 years, I am learning new things about him all of the time. He loves so many vegetables! Who knew? I have been used to picky eaters so having this wide open new world of vegetables available to me to experiment with, well you can imagine I am like a kid in a candy store!

The first time I made this dish we both really liked it. It was a Rachael Ray recipe, and although I love her to death, I knew there were parts of it that I would like to change. So I went to work and came up with this version that we both LOVED. I ate leftovers for breakfast the next day and Kevin had it as a "snack: after work for a couple of days. SO I guess it is safe to say that this will be a meal I will be making over and over again.

This is a great dish for people that aren't too sure if they like eggplant to start out with. Eggplant does not take over this dish it merely is a part of the supporting cast of characters. So I do believe it is safe to say that even a non-eggplant person would enjoy this meal. Miss Picky Pants even ate it and said it was good as well as my father (who tends to be a bit on the picky side himself). So let's get cooking!

Your full cast of characters

Peel the eggplant with a vegetable peeler in strips leaving a strip unpeeled between

Chop your eggplant in cubes about 1/8" and sprinkle with salt to help draw out the moisture

grate your onion

Chop your thyme

and dice the Fresno chili. Go ahead and leave the seeds in it wont be too spicy I promise

Yes that is garlic and a LOT of it

brown your ground pork

Add the onion, garlic, thyme, chili pepper, and the fennel seed

stir to combine and let it hang out a bit so the flavors can get happy together

using a clean kitchen towel, wrap up the eggplant and twist and squeeze the excess liquid from the eggplant

after you add the eggplant to the pork and deglaze with the white wine, add your cream and stir

get your parsley ready for the party

Stir in your starchy cooking water and parsley, salt and pepper to taste

And Voila!! A gorgeous pasta dish that will make an eggplant lover out of you

Pasta with Pork and Eggplant

  • 1 medium-size firm eggplant, a little over a pound or so in weight
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon fennel pollen or seed, 1/3 palmful
  • 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 small onion, grated or very finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 chili pepper – Italian red cherry or Fresno, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • a generous handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 pound short-cut pasta, whatever shape you like
  • Parmesan cheese

Peel half the skin off the eggplant. Dice very finely into 1/8-inch pieces. 

Sprinkle with salt and reserve.
Place a large pot of water over high heat for the pasta. Add pasta and cook 
according to package directions. Reserve a half cup of the starchy pasta 

water for the sauce.
Heat the olive oil, 3 turns of the pan, over medium to medium-high heat. 
Add pork and lightly brown while finely crumbling it into tiny bits. Season 
with fennel, salt, 
pepper, garlic, onion, thyme and the chili pepper.
Squeeze any liquid from the eggplant then stir it into the pork. Cook about 
10-12 minutes, stirring frequently until eggplant is tender. Deglaze with 

white wine, 
stir a minute then stir in cream and simmer over low heat while pasta cooks.
Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce, adding liquid to combine. Stir in 

parsley. Toss 1-2 minutes.
Serve in shallow bowls topped with grated Parmesan.


  1. This sounds good. I like Rachael Ray too.

  2. This sounds delicious and it is a perfect recipe for a fall dinner. This is my first visit to your blog, so I've taken some time to browse through your earlier entries. I'm so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I'll defnitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  3. Christine. I have been a Rachael Ray fan for quite some time. After I lost all of the weight and began actually cooking (vs take out) she was the first person I found that made recipes I could identify with and not feel overwhelmed cooking. My very first blog was Bobbi Renee and Rachael Ray (following Julie and Julia) my kids suggestion. But I was worried about copyright laws so I started this one.

  4. Mary I am so glad you found me :) Yes, this really is a tummy warming meal. Thank you so much for the compliment I look forward to you coming back!!