Who has time for hours of stovetop simmering? Get all the flavor in less than half the time by adding sun-dried tomatoes to your sauce. Toss in roasted eggplant, fresh herbs, and a dash of spice for good measure and you’ve got yourself a meat-free crowd pleaser.
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Wash and dry the produce. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the eggplant into ½-inch cubes. Toss the eggplant on a baking sheet (you may need 2) with a large drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven for about 20 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking, until golden brown and soft.
Halve, peel, and dice the onion. Thinly slice the sun-dried tomatoes. Mince or grate the garlic. Roughly chop the parsley leaves. Tear the mozzarella into small pieces.
Cook the pasta: Add the linguine to the boiling water and cook 9-11 minutes, until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta water.
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, and a pinch of chili flakes (to taste) to the pan. Cook, tossing, for 5-6 minutes, until very soft. Add the diced tomatoes and ½ teaspoon sugar to the pan and reduce to a low simmer. Once the pasta is drained, add the reserved pasta water into the sauce. Season generously with salt and pepper.
When the eggplant is done, toss it into the sauce along with the linguine, mozzarella, and half the parsley. Toss until thoroughly combined and mozzarella has melted. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Serve: Plate the pasta and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, if desired. Garnish with the remaining parsley and enjoy!