- 1 lb eggplant, peeled if you like and cut into chunks
- 1 onion, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into chunks
- 1 zucchini, cut into chunks
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored and cut into chunks
- 6 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 cup tomato paste
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 lb whole-wheat rigatoni or other cut pasta
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put eggplant, onion, fennel, zucchini, bell pepper, and garlic in a food processor with 1/4 cup of the oil. Pulse, stopping to scrape down sides once or twice, until finely chopped but not puréed.
- Put remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add vegetables and cook, stirring often, until onion becomes translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, turn heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring frequently, until tomato paste caramelizes, 3 to 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, and then reduce heat so it bubbles gently but steadily. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add pasta to boiling water, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, and then start tasting. When pasta is tender but still has some bite, scoop out 2 cups cooking water, and then drain pasta.
- Immediately add pasta and a splash of cooking water to skillet and turn heat to medium-high. Toss to coat in sauce, adding a little more reserved pasta water if necessary to create a slightly creamy, but not soupy, sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning; then garnish with parsley and serve.
776 Calories, 26 g Protein, 131 g Carbohydrates, 14 g Fiber, 23 g Total fat (3 g sat), 1,233 mg Sodium, ★★★★★ Vitamin B1 (thiamine), B3 (niacin), B6, C, E, K, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, ★★★★ Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Folate, Potassium, ★★★ Zinc, ★★ Calcium, ★ Vitamin A