Rigatoni with Roasted Eggplant and Ricotta

In our house Sunday is a day of rest. We really don’t want to go anywhere if we don’t have to. We like to lounge at home in our sweats and watch a movie or two. The greatest thing about lounging around on a Sunday is the smell of whatever is cooking for dinner.

I encourage everyone to slow down on Sunday and enjoy dinner with your family.  Especially if it involves pasta and eggplant! Sometimes if we’re lucky we get to have dinner with my parents. A few weeks ago we had my parents over for Sunday dinner and I made rigatoni with roasted eggplant and ricotta. So delicious.


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Rigatoni with Roasted Eggplant and Ricotta


  • 3 eggplants(I used a variety:  one regular eggplant, one Sicilian eggplant and one Japanese eggplant)
  • EVOO
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves sliced thin
  • 1 tsp. of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2- 28 oz.cans of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 pounds of rigatoni
  • 1 cup of grated cheese(pecorino romano)
  • A big bunch of fresh basil shredded
  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese


  • Preheat oven to roast 400 degrees.
  • Remove the skin from the eggplant if using regular eggplant.
  • Chop eggplant into bite sized pieces.
  • Heavily coat a baking sheet with olive oil and toss the eggplant in the olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Roast for about 25 minutes or until nice and browned. Turn the eggplant a couple of times while cooking. (I usually do this in the morning and the rest as dinner time gets closer)
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
  • In a large skillet heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over a medium heat.
  • Add the garlic and cook until golden. Add the crushed tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Season lightly with salt. (This is one of my favorite simple sauces. So easy, but so amazing!)     
  • Cook sauce on low heat for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the rigatoni to the boiling water and cook per directions on the box.
  • Drain the pasta and return it to the large pot it was cooking in.
  • Add about a 1/2 cup of sauce to coat the pasta.
  • Add a cup of grated cheese and basil.
  • Stir in the roasted eggplant.
  • Slowly add the ricotta and toss lightly.
  • Add a little more sauce if needed.




Call it what you want…

I love it!  No matter what you call it.  Sauce or gravy?  In my family we call red sauce, sauce.  We call brown sauce that goes over meat, gravy.  If I cook meat in the sauce all day and it’s really thick I consider it more like a gravy.

But no matter what, if you are cooking it, I’m happy.  And making it is so simple and healthy depending on what you pair it with.  This recipe is for a simple marinara sauce.  Sometimes I add onion, red wine, meat, roasted eggplant, etc…

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Marinara Sauce


  • EVOO
  • garlic (12 cloves chopped)
  • a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 cans of whole peeled tomatoes(Tuttorroso is great because the cans say non-BPA and non-GMO.  Most of the time I’ll try and get San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes or I’ll even use cans of crushed tomatoes and keep it simple!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of crushed black pepper
  • 3 heaping spoonfuls of cheese
  • A handful of fresh chopped Italian parsley(or basil or both!)


  • In a large sauce pan saute garlic and crushed red pepper flakes in EVOO.  (You can add onion if you want.  That’s the great part about sauce.  It tastes delicious many ways. This is when everyone comes in the kitchen to see what I’m making.  Smells so good.)
  • Add 3 cans of whole peeled tomatoes.  Blend with an immersion blender (one of the greatest inventions ever!) to chop all the tomatoes. Keep it on a simmer so it doesn’t burn.
  • Add about the crushed black pepper.  (My mom adds salt, but uses less cheese.  I don’t add salt, but put in extra cheese!)
  • Stir in the grated cheese.  (My mom buys nothing other than Pecorino Romano.  I sway from that.  Sometimes I buy the blend or sometimes just Parmesan.  Always from the refrigerated section!!  That’s a must.  I don’t even think the cheese in the un-refrigerated section is even cheese.  A big thing to look out for is any grated or crumbled cheese with cellulose aka wood pulp in it.  Sometimes it’s hard to find cheese without it.  I don’t know much about cellulose, but I don’t want my family to eat it.  That’s for sure… Today they didn’t have grated cheese without cellulose, so I bought the block of cheese and grated it myself.)
  • Add the parsley/basil.

That is it!  Simmer for about 20 minutes.  Pair with your favorite pasta.  Tonight I added turkey meatballs to the sauce and served with whole grain linguine.  My picky eater Matthew likes healthier foods and this is his favorite meal!  I prefer regular meatballs, but I will get into that discussion another day.  Enjoy!

Other recipes you will love…

Meat Sauce

Ravioli with Crushed Tomato Sauce

Momma’s Meatballs