I’ m often asked for super easy weeknight dishes, and one of my go-to meals is pasta. I like to use the pasta as a canvas to play with interesting flavors and textures. This dish is a combination of sweet, spicy, salty, and savory and I think it’s a home-run!
Try it out.
Early Fall Baked Penne
1 eggplant, diced
1 head fennel, diced
12 small brussel sprouts, quartered
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp hot pepper flake
1 T chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grate pecornio romano cheese
1/2 cup pasta water
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 box penne rigate
1/4 cup aged goat cheese, grated (If you can’t get an aged goat cheese, use fresh and crumble into the pasta, it will make a different texture but will be delish!)
4 oz pancetta
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
- Heat a large pot of water to the cook the pasta. Cook the pasta to instructions on the box, drain and keep 1/2 cup of pasta water, drizzle the drained pasta with a touch of oil. Set aside.
- In a large saute pan heat 1 T of olive oil and add your pancetta.
- Brown the pancetta over medium heat until crispy.
- Remove with a slotted spoon, and leave the pork fat in the pan for flavor. 🙂
- Add your eggplant in, turn the heat to high. Cook for several minutes to start to soften the eggplant.
- Add in your fennel and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add in your sliced garlic and cook for 2 minutes, keep the heat high-medium high.
- Add in your brussels sprouts, tomatoes, golden raisins, hot pepper flake, and oregano.
- Cook for 2-3 to start to soften and brown the vegetables.
- When they start to color, add in the pasta water.
- Cook until eggplant is soft and brussels sprouts are halfway cooked.
- The sauce should start to get thick, season with salt and pepper.
- In a baking dish, mix in pasta, your sautéed vegetables, pancetta, pine nuts, pecorino and grated aged goat cheese.
- Top with more grated pecorino and aged goat cheese.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. The cheese should be melted and golden brown.
1/2 loaf rustic italian bread cut into 6 slices
2 T butter
2 T Good olive oil ( I use Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
2 cloves garlic, grated on microplane
salt and pepper
sprinkle grated pecorino
- Combine butter with grated garlic (minced if you do not have a microplane)
- Mix in olive oil
- Add salt and pepper
- Smear compound butter on bread slices, top with sprinkle of pecorino
- Bake until golden brown and delicious – about 4-5 minutes in a 400 degree oven
Hope you try it out! SO simple and delicious
Chef Sean Gallagher