Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Margaret Dickey; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis 
Active Time
20 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 30 Mins
Yield
Serves 6 (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups pasta, 2/3 cup sauce)

This hearty veggie-forward main dish swaps pork and beef with grated eggplant and mushrooms for a robust, vegetable-based take on traditional pasta bolognese. That said, this is not the type of veggie dish that leaves one wanting, the eggplant and mushrooms develop a deeply rich flavor as the sauce simmers and thickens, delivering  plenty of satisfying, umami goodness. Grating and squeezing out the liquid in the eggplant is an essential step, so don't try to shortcut it—otherwise, you’ll find yourself with a watery, slightly bitter sauce. To make the dish completely vegetarian, simply skip the Parmesan cheese. Serve family-style on a large platter for a stunning presentation.

How to Make It

Step 1

Using the grating disc attachment of a food processor or a box grater, process eggplant until finely shredded. Squeeze liquid from eggplant using a clean kitchen towel; discard liquid. Set aside eggplant.

Step 2

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high. Add onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add shredded eggplant, and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is browned, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and oregano, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine, and cook, stirring and scraping to loosen browned bits from bottom of saucepan, until wine is nearly evaporated, about 30 seconds. Stir in crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly reduced and vegetables are very tender, about 1 hour.

Step 3

While sauce simmers, cook pasta according to package directions.

Step 4

Stir cream and salt into sauce. Divide pasta evenly among 6 dishes; ladle about 2/3 cup sauce over each. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan and basil leaves.

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