Spaghetti with spicy panchetta and eggplant marinara

It was a cold rainy day and my husband and I were on our way home from work.  All I could think about was getting warm and cooking something hearty and satisfying for dinner: to me, pasta is the ultimate comfort food.  Marinara sauce takes about 30 minutes to make from scratch so there’s no excuse for not making it at home (especially since it freezes so well!).  For this dish, I thought I’d dress up a simple spaghetti and marinara by adding one of my husband’s favourite things, panchetta, and one of mine, eggplant.  This dinner came together very well and was just what we needed on a blustery night.  The only change I would likely make next time is smaller pieces of panchetta to ensure better distribution of its flavour in the pasta.

For the marinara recipe, see my previous post: “Ricotta gnocchi and marinara sauce”.

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2 italian eggplants, halved lengthwise then sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of pancetta, sliced (I used spicy pancetta)
1/4 cup of vidalia onion, minced
Extra virgin olive oil
Spaghetti (I like Barilla for a perfect al dente)
Sea salt
2 frying pans (if possible, it’s helpful to saute your veggies while your sauce is simmering)
Large pasta pot

While your marinara is simmering, slice your eggplant and pancetta.  In a pan on medium heat, sautee your pancetta, onion and garlic in some olive oil.  Once your pancetta is starting to brown, add your sliced eggplant and salt.  Reduce the heat to medium low and cover for about 10 minutes.

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Cook your pasta in salted water while you add your prepared sauce to the eggplant mixture.  Your pasta and sauce should be ready in 8-10 minutes.  Drain and add the cooked pasta to your sauce.  Serve with grated parmesan.

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Enjoy!

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