Brown Rice Penne and Eggplant

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Brown rice pasta has a firm texture and nutty flavor that pairs well with hearty toppings such as this tomato-eggplant sauce.

1 (16-ounce) package brown rice penne (or ziti)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups cubed eggplant (about 1 small)
1 cup finely chopped onion (about 1 medium)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (26-ounce) jar fat-free pasta sauce (such as Muir Glen Organic)
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) preshredded Italian-blend or Parmesan cheese, divided

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add eggplant and onion; sauté 8 minutes or until onion is browned. Stir in garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and pasta sauce; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, and cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in basil.

Toss eggplant mixture with pasta. Sprinkle with 1 cup cheese; toss gently. Top evenly with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Serve immediately. Yield 8 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups pasta)


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