This is one of our favorite Italian dishes. It is filling, quick and easy to make, and serves 4-6 depending on how much pasta you use. With two of us cutting up the veggies it took about 35-40 minutes total to prepare. This recipe is taken from the book One dish Vegan, by Robin Robertson (page 136).
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 vegan sausage links, chopped (optional)
- 1 small yellow (sweet) onion, chopped
- 1 small eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch dice
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch dice
- 5 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 1/2 tsp)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp natural sugar (I use Sugar in the Raw)
- 1 (28 oz) can of diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 Tbsp capers, drained
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 2 tsp. dried basil (optional)
- 8 to 12 oz of uncooked ridged ziti or penne pasta
- If using the vegan sausage, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned. Transfer the sausage to a plate and reserve.
- Return the skillet to the stove over medium heat. Add the onion, eggplant, and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and a little water if needed so the vegetables do not burn. Cook for 1 minute longer.
- Stir in the tomato paste, oregano, 1/2 tsp dried basil, red pepper flakes, sugar, diced tomatoes and their juices, capers, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring just to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce has thickened and the flavors have blended, about 15 minutes.
- In the mean time, cook the ziti (or penne pasta) in a large pot of salted boiling water, stirring occasional until it is al dente (about 9 minutes). Drain well and return to the pot.
- Add the fresh basil and the reserved sausage, if using, to the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Keep warm over low heat.
- Add the cooked and drained pasta to the sauce and toss gently to combine. Serve hot, garnished with parsley if desired.
I like to top this dish with “faux parmesan” (a mixture of Nutritional Yeast and ground almonds) and serve with crusty whole grain bread and vegan butter. The leftovers can be refrigerated or frozen for another delicious meal.