Eggplants, man. What to do with a bountiful eggplant season when half your household hates them is quite the yearly conundrum. I’ve made meatballs with them, used them to lend silky body in meat-based Indian dishes, made a dipping sauce out of them, and have found a myriad other ways to tuck them into dishes well enough to hide the texture.
This go ’round, I opted for pasta sauce.
Gluten-free, paleo, whole 30
Paleo Pasta Puttanesc-ish
Globe eggplant (about 3-4 cups cubed)
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
1 lb. ground turkey
5-6 roma tomatoes (about 2.5 cups chopped)
Dried mushrooms or mushroom powder (I used 2 Tbsp. dried porcini)
2 Tbsp. capers
2 big pinches red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp. + 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
4 Tbsp. + 2 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
Fat of choice
Kosher salt & black pepper
Optional: pecorino or parmesan
Preheat your oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside. Halve the spaghetti squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, season generously with salt, pepper and a drizzle of oil and place face down on the sheet. Bake 30 minutes.
While the squash is baking, make the sauce by whizzing together the eggplant, tomatoes, anchovies, garlic, mushrooms, capers, onion, red pepper, half the tomato paste, and 4 Tbsp. of the worcestershire sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary.
When the sauce is ready to go, brown the turkey in about 2 Tbsp. fat of choice. Season with the remaining 2 Tbsp. tomato paste and worcestershire sauce, generous dashes salt & pepper, and the dried basil and oregano. Cook through and set aside.
When the 30 minutes on the squash is up, move the squash to the outer sides of the baking sheet and dump the sauce in the middle, spreading out so more surface area hits the heat. Bake an additional 15 minutes.
When the 15 minutes is up, check the squash. If a knife pierces the skin easily, it’s done. If not, let cook an additional 10 minutes, stirring the sauce before putting back in the oven. I let mine cook those extra 10 minutes, and then stirred the sauce once again once the squash was removed from the pan – letting just the sauce bake an additional 5 minutes.
Scrape the flesh of the spaghetti squash with a fork to create “noodles”, and toss with the sauce and the turkey. Taste once more and adjust seasoning if needed.