I mentioned in a previous post that my father-in-law came to visit recently to go see some hockey playoff games (Red Wings vs. Coyotes) with the husband. I wanted a crockpot dinner for one of the nights so we'd be sure to eat dinner before they had to leave for the game. I'd received an eggplant in my produce co-op the week before and needed to be using it. I found a pasta sauce recipe in one of my slow cooker cookbooks that used eggplant, so I thought it would be a great choice.
Eggplant Pasta Sauce
1 lb. eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 14-oz cans Italian diced tomatoes (with garlic, oregano, and basil), undrained
1 6-oz can Italian tomao paste with roasted garlic
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tsp minced garlic
1-1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1-1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
4 cups hot cooked penne
Spray inside of slow cooker with cooking spray. Combine all ingredients except pasta and cheese in slow cooker and mix. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3.5-4 hours. Serve over hot, cooked pasta and top with parmesan cheese if desired.
I didn't have any mushrooms on hand, so instead I added in some diced zucchini. I also thought two cans of tomatoes didn't look like it was going to be saucy enough, so I added in a third. None of them were the Italian style, so I just added in more of the Italian seasoning to compensate for it.
This worked out perfectly to make for that night! We ended up being gone most of the afternoon, so I wouldn't have had much time to get something together for dinner. This way all I had to do was boil some water, throw in the pasta, and dish it up. I made Barefoot Contessa's Garlic Ciabbata Bread to go along with it. This sauce was really good, and I loved all the vegetables in it to make it chunky and give it a nutritional boost. Everyone really enjoyed the sauce--my kids even ate it up! This was a great crockpot spaghetti sauce that I'll definitely make again!
(Note: This made quite a bit, so I froze about half the sauce. It was definitely better the first time around...it lost a lot of the flavor and the vegetables didn't really hold their texture once frozen. It wasn't bad, but it was definitely better when it was fresh.)