Mother Earth Living

Pappardelle and Eggplant Ragu Recipe with Fresh Ricotta

Meatless cooking is easy when the results are this mouthwatering. This Eggplant Ragu recipe uses ricotta and pappardelle pasta for a fresh, balanced meal.
By Michael Natkin
October 2013
Add to My MSN

Use fresh pappardelle and ricotta to complete this delicate Eggplant Ragu recipe.
Photo Courtesy Harvard Commons Press

Content Tools

Related Content

Guerilla Gardening: Operation Slippery Slope

The Guerilla Gardener clues us in to his next guerilla gardening experiment, lovingly dubbed, "Opera...

Meatless Monday! 3 Favorite Sites for Veggie Recipes

Looking for inspiration for meat-free meals? Try these three of my favorite sources of vegetarian me...

Meatless Monday Recipe: Baked Eggplant with Quinoa

Delicious, nutritious quinoa gives nutty goodness to this summer dish that takes advantage of tomato...

Green Your Life: Homemade Baba Ganoush

Celebrate the end of eggplant season with a plate of homemade baba ganoush. Follow this simple recip...

The vegetarian table has come of age. No longer the poor cousin of omnivorous eating, meatless cooking now features as much depth in spices and flavors as one expects from the best meat-loving chefs and kitchens. In Herbivoracious, author Michael Natkin’s goal was to take meatless cooking beyond the bland and “crunchy” into a realm of intense, vibrant, globally inspired flavors. This Papardelle and Eggplant Ragu recipe is paired with fresh ricotta for a perfect meal.

You can purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living store: Herbivoracious.

Pappardelle and Eggplant Ragu Recipe with Fresh Ricotta

Fresh pastas are most often paired with delicate sauces. But a counterexample is a rich, flavorful ragu served over wide noodles like fresh pappardelle. Eggplant makes a terrific vegetarian ragu, accented by bell peppers and fresh ricotta. You can also turn this into a spicy ragu by using Fresno peppers instead of red bells.

The crucial step in making this dish exceptionally delicious is to cook the pasta al dente so that its elastic bite contrasts with the melting texture of the eggplant and ricotta.

Be sure to gather all of the garnishes in advance, so that when the pasta is finished you can apply them quickly and get the hot bowls right to the table.

30 Minutes

• 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 red onion, finely diced
• 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 2 large eggplants (about 3 pounds total), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
• 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
• 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 1 red bell pepper or, for a spicy version, 3 Fresno chiles, seeded and thinly sliced
• 1 cup dry red wine
• 1 pound fresh pappardelle or other fresh pasta (preferably wide, flat noodles)
• 1 1/2 cups ricotta (Calabro is an excellent brand), at room temperature, drained if necessary.
• Minced fresh flatleaf parsley or mint leaves
• Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
• Grated zest of 1 orange
• Freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Warm your serving bowls in a low (200 degrees) oven.

2. Heat the olive oil in your largest skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic and sauté for 1 minute; don’t allow the garlic to burn. Add the eggplant, hot red pepper flakes, and salt. Lower the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is nearly tender, about 8 minutes. You can add a little more oil if you need to, but don’t get carried away, as the eggplant will just keep soaking it up. If there is a lot of sticking, lower the heat and add some of the red wine.

3. Add the red bell pepper and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the red wine, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet, and continue to cook until the eggplant is fully tender, about 2 more minutes. Reduce the heat to very low. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

4. Boil the pasta according to package directions. For fresh pappardelle, this will usually take 3 to 5 minutes. Scoop out 1 cup of the pasta water and reserve. Drain the pasta and toss with the simmering eggplant ragu, mixing in some or all of the pasta water as needed to achieve a light glaze on the noodles; don’t let it turn into a soupy sauce.

5. Divide the pasta among the serving bowls. Divide the ricotta as well, placing 5 or 6 tablespoon-size dabs on each serving. Top with the parsley or mint, grated cheese, orange zest, and black pepper, and serve immediately. Serves 3 to 4

More recipes from Herbivoracious

• Spaghetti Aglio e Olio recipe
• Basil Gnudi recipe with summer squash.

Reprinted with permission from Herbivoracious: A Flavor Revolution, with 150 Vibrant and Original Vegetarian Recipes. Recipe © 2013 by Michael Natkin and used with permission of The Harvard Common Press. Buy this book from our store: Herbivoracious.

Previous | 1 | 2 | Next

Post a comment below.


Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.