eggplant & spaghetti bowl with black pepper & basil ricotta cream.

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I really can’t contain my love for eggplant, especially when it’s paired with pasta and ricotta cheese.  I didn’t coat the eggplant in bread crumbs – instead, I sprinkled a little bit of whole wheat bread crumbs with some spices on each piece of eggplant before flipping it over in the pan so it has a nice crust without being too heavy.  This dish is super easy and you can make the ricotta cream in less than 2 minutes.  You can also make this dish with zucchini noodles instead of spaghetti!

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Recipe: (serves 4)

  • 1 large or 2 small eggplants, cut into rounds about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 4 oz. whole wheat thin spaghetti or zucchini noodles (2 oz. of thin spaghetti should have a diameter of the size of a quarter when bunched together in your hand, so two of these!)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (I used part skim)
  • 2 tablespoons half & half
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • tomato sauce (I used Raos Marinara – my dad’s favorite, it’s delicious!)
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • parmesan cheese, garnish

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Instructions:

  • Heat a large pan to medium-high heat.
  • Drizzle about 2 tablespoons olive oil into the pan.
  • Add eggplant so it makes a single layer in the pan – you will have to do this in a couple batches!
  • Add more olive oil to a small bowl, and brush the tops of each eggplant slice.
  • Sprinkle with a light layer of bread crumbs, salt and pepper.
  • Once browned on the first side, flip each egg plant and cover for about 2 minutes.
  • When each slice of eggplant is nice and browned on each side, remove from pan and start the next batch.
  • Cook pasta according to package or box.  (if you are using zucchini noodles, I leave them raw – so just use a spiralizer to make the noodles and all them to each serving bowl.)
  • In a separate bowl, add ricotta cheese, half & half, salt & pepper to taste, and 2 Tablespoons fresh basil.
  • Mix ricotta cream until combined.
  • Heat tomato sauce in a small sauce pan.
  • Time to assemble the bowls!  Add pasta, tomato sauce, egg plant, ricotta cream, and top with fresh basil and parmesan!  🙂 Very easy, super tasty!

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