Fall is the perfect time for roasted veggies, and that suits me just fine as it’s one of my favorite ways to eat my vegetables. Eggplant is especially good when roasted because all of the bitterness cooks out and you’re left with delicious, sweet eggplant that has a great texture. I like to use roasted eggplant in meat sauce because of this unique texture; you can actually reduce the amount of meat you use and increase the amount of veggies to up the health factor without taking away from how satisfying and hearty the dish is.
This sauce is versatile and so easy to make, you can easily double the batch and freeze half for later. This would also be amazing in a jazzed up lasagna or baked pasta dish. You could also eliminate the meat and double the eggplant for a vegetarian meal.
Linguine & Meat Sauce with Roasted Vegetables
- 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 28 oz canned tomato sauce
- 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 2 tsp capers, finely chopped
- 1 large eggplant, quartered and then cut into ½” thick pieces
- 1 large yellow onion, quartered
- 2 yellow bell peppers, quartered
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 pound linguine, cooked 1 minute shy of al dente
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Brown the beef in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. When it’s mostly cooked through, drain any fat and then add the garlic, basil, oregano and thyme. Stir everything together and continue to cook until it is fragrant and the meat is browned through. Deglaze the pot with the white wine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom. Add the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and capers, then bring the sauce up to a low boil. Reduce the heat, cover the sauce and simmer while you continue to prepare the meal.
Bring a large pot of salty water up to a boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta to just shy of al dente, roughly 1 minute less than what the package directions indicate. Before draining the pasta, reserve half a cup of the starchy pasta water.
Coat the chopped vegetables in the olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread them out evenly on cookie sheets and roast for 40 minutes. About halfway through, turn them over so that the veggies are browned evenly. Allow the veggies to cool to the point where you can handle them and then dice them. Add the diced vegetables to the sauce.
Toss in the pasta along with the reserved pasta water and continue to simmer for another few minutes until the pasta is al dente and the starchy water has cooked off. This step allows the sauce and pasta to stick together and adds texture to the dish, so it’s very important to not rush the process.
Portion out the pasta into bowls and dig in; don’t forget to use a twirling spoon while eating!