Bucatini Pasta Recipe with Eggplant Meatballs

Bucatini Pasta Recipe with Eggplant Meatballs

"If you're aiming to eat less meat and more plant-based foods in 2019, this flavorful plant-based pasta recipe—which is essentially an elevated, vegetarian version of spaghetti and meatballs—is the perfect way to get started. Barilla® Collezione bucatini pasta  takes the place of spaghetti, while roasted eggplants, lightly blended and mixed with bread crumbs, almond flour and egg, stand in for ground meat in this plant-based pasta recipe. The result is a tasty reimagining of a well-loved classic that everyone at the table can enjoy.
Recipe and Photo Credit: Barilla Executive Chef Lorenzo Boni  

Ingredients:

1 box Barilla Collezione Bucatini Pasta 
4 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, sliced
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
Salt, to taste
2 tbs. fresh oregano
½ cup Romano cheese, grated

Ingredients for Eggplant “Meatballs”:
2 eggplants (equivalent of 2 cups, once cooked)
1 cup bread crumbs
½ cup almond flour
1 egg
Salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions for Eggplant “Meatballs”:
1.  Roast whole eggplants in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, for about 30 minutes, until soft and thoroughly cooked.
2.  Remove stems, peel the eggplants and place the pulp in a colander to drain for 15 minutes.
3.  Lightly process the eggplant with a few pulses in a food processor and then mix in all the other ingredients.
4.  With a small gelato/ice cream scooper, portion out the processed eggplant into small balls (about 1 oz. each) and place them on a large sheet plan. Allow them to refrigerate for several hours.
5.  Then, bake in the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned and thoroughly cooked.

Directions:
1.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2.  Meanwhile in a skillet, sauté garlic in olive oil for 1-2 minutes and then add tomatoes and 1cup of water. Season with salt and red pepper flakes and simmer for 5 minutes.
3.  Stir in eggplant “meatballs” and allow to simmer for 5 more minutes.
4.  Drain pasta and toss with other ingredients. 5. Garnish with Romano cheese and fresh oregano before serving."

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