Most of us- if not all of us- have been binge watching a lot of shows in the last two weeks. I personally have been watching The Sopranos on HBO GO, which has inspired me to channel my inner Italian chef. Being a vegetarian Italian American has raised some eyebrows in my old-school Italian family. “Ragazza pazza!” or “You crazy girl!” is what’s said to me every holiday for skipping grandma’s signature meat lasagna.

So I decided to try my vegetarian take on a baked rigatoni and it actually turned out to be an incredibly tasty and easy meal. Bonus: it feeds up to 4 people. Here’s what you’ll need…

Ingredients: 
  • 1 box of rigatoni
  • 1 large eggplant cut up into cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 Field Roast (or any vegan) Italian sausage links, cut up into bite sized pieces
  • olive oil
  • 1 or 2 (depends on how much you like cheese) cups of mozzarella (or vegan mozzarella)
  • 1 jar of any pasta sauce 
Directions: 
  • Preheat oven to 450
  • Boil water in pot and cook up the rigatoni
  • While the pasta is cooking, put a gracious amount (1/2 cup) of olive oil into a large pan and let heat up. Then put chopped onions, minced garlic, eggplant and sausage in and sauté until eggplant and sausage is crispy brown on both sides.
  • Put the sautéed onions, garlic, eggplant and sausage into a 9×13 deep baking dish.
  • Drain the cooked pasta and put it on top of the veggies and sausage in the baking dish. Add jar of sauce, and mozzarella. Mix with spoon until everything is evenly dispersed.
  • Put baking dish into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes (Or until the mozzarella is golden brown)
  • Top with basil flakes and serve with a glass of whatever red wine you stocked up on!

Stay well and be kind, Salt Lake!


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