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Rigatoni with Spicy Sausage and Eggplant


  • 3/4lb spicy Italian sausage (preferably in casings, gluten free if necessary)
  • 1 large eggplant, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 onion, cut into a medium dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28oz) can whole plum tomatoes
  • 1 small bunch fresh basil, torn into medium pieces
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 12oz rigatoni or penne (gluten free, if necessary)
  • 8oz fresh mozzarella, torn into small pieces
  • 1/2c fresh parmesan (or more, to taste)


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Set a large pot of water for the pasta over medium-high heat to bring to a boil.
  2. In a large pan, brown sausages in olive oil and remove from pan (they will probably not be cooked all the way through. Don’t worry). In the same pan, cook eggplant in olive oil for 7-8 minutes or until crisp-tender, adding additional olive oil as necessary. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Remove eggplant and set aside.
  3. Add onion to pan. Cook 3-4 minutes over medium heat or until tender and translucent. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more. Crush tomatoes gently with your hand or a potato masher and add them and their juices to the pan (you still want some larger pieces). Add basil leaves and bring to a simmer while you cook the pasta.
  4. By this time, your pasta water should be boiling. Add a generous pinch of salt to the water and add rigatoni. Cook 6-7 minutes (pasta will not be cooked through–it will finish cooking in the oven).
  5. Cut sausages into bite-sized pieces. Combine sausages, eggplant, sauce, and pasta. Toss to combine. Transfer to a 9×13″ pan. Top with mozzarella and parmesan.
  6. Bake at 450 degrees about 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden.