Eggplant and Bacon Penne with Tomato Sauce
Savory bacon and fresh, earthy eggplant star in this delicious meal. Using Artisan Penne Rigate and mainly pantry staples, this dish comes together easily.
Prep Time: 35 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
- 1 pkg Italpasta Artisan Penne Rigate
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 tsp salt, divided
- 2 tsp pepper, divided
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2½ cups eggplant, cut into ½-inch (1 cm) cubes
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 1 28-oz can finely chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp red chili flakes
- ½ cup shredded halloumi cheese
- 1 small bunch basil
- In large pot of boiling, salted water set over medium-high heat, cook pasta according to package directions; drain, reserving ⅓ cup (75 mL) cooking liquid.
- Meanwhile, in small dry skillet, toast panko, and ¼ tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden. Transfer to plate; set aside. Wipe out skillet.
- Add bacon to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes or until bacon is crisp and fat has rendered. Transfer to paper towel–lined plate; set aside.
- In same skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; cook eggplant, onion, garlic, and remaining salt and pepper, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until eggplant is tender. Stir in tomato paste; cook for 1 minute.
- Add crushed tomatoes; reduce heat to medium-low heat. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until thickened and fragrant. Toss with pasta, reserved cooking liquid, bacon, chopped basil, oregano and chili flakes.
- Transfer to plates; top with halloumi and reserved panko. Garnish with basil leaves.