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Spaghetti with Roasted Eggplant, Tomatoes and Linguiça

My sister visited last week -- one of her usual a whirlwind visits -- and we stopped by the supermarket to pick something up. This may not seem like a big deal but, since I order my groceries online weekly, this is always somewhat of a treat. It is a treat in the same way that visiting the library in person rather than ordering library books online directly to Kindle is -- due to the possibility of finding something random and new simply because it catches one's eye. In this case, my newest discovery was ground Linguiça, which I brought home to use in Portuguese kale soup but ended up using in the pasta dish illustrated above instead. (Rest assured that there are now several portions of the remainder frozen and waiting to be used in the aforementioned soup when I feel like making it.)

1 serving spaghetti (pasta servings are very subjective so I tend not to add exact measurements for this)

2 cups eggplant, skin and all, cut into chunks as above

5 cherry tomatoes, halved

2 Tbsps onion, peeled and cut into half moons

1/4 cup ground Linguiça or any other sausage meat

2 Tbsps grated Parmesan

1 Tbsp olive oil

Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 450.

Place the eggplant, onions and cherry tomatoes on a parchment paper lined baking tray. Drizzle with the olive oil and salt lightly. Place in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, until the eggplant is custard like with crispy skin, the onion is caramelizing around the edges and the tomatoes have started to shrivel up into concentrated versions of themselves. If this happens before the pasta is cooked, just remove it from the oven and set aside until needed.

Place a pan of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta as directed on the package. Drain but set aside 1/4 cup of the cooking water first.

While the pasta is cooking, add the ground Linguiça to a skillet and cook over low heat until the fat has rendered at the sausage meat is crispy.

Add the drained pasta back into the pan over low heat. Add the roasted vegetables, juices and all, the Linguiça and one tablespoon of the grated Parmesan to the pan and stir well to combine. Add some of the pasta water to the mix to create a sauce. i start with a tablespoon or so, and add more bit by bit until the Parmesan, pan juices and water have amalgamated into a sauce that clings to the pasta.

Place in your serving bowl and top with the remaining Parmesan.


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