This is a tasty weeknight dinner recipe for rigatoni bolognese with eggplant. It’s simple to make and it’s the ultimate comfort food with thick rigatoni pasta, ground beef, eggplant slices, and a rich orange-red garlicky tomato sauce topped with oregano and parmesan cheese crumbles.
Things I love about this dish:
- This is a FAST 30-minute bolognese. None of that simmer-for-hours kind of bolognese. This is the kind of bolognese that you can make on a whim for a weeknight dinner — and then have leftovers for consecutive nights. Win. 🙂
- No alcohol needed. I’ve made this dish with and without wine, and I prefer it without wine. I like to simplify the amount of ingredients involved, and this was an easy decision to skip the wine.
And last but not least, I love this sauce. I’m a huge fan of all the hearty, meaty sauces of the world. Plus, all that savory goodness like pan-seared garlic and eggplant. Cooking up this sauce made my kitchen smell SO GOOD.
This pot of bolognese smelled so good and looked so appetizing that I had Mr. Savory Tooth buzzing around me as I was trying to photograph this dish. I had to zip through my photographs much faster than usual because he was getting so impatient. 🙂 I don’t blame him; I was getting impatient and hungry also!
If you think this rigatoni bolognese looks amazing and can’t get enough pasta, you should also check out my habanero sweet potato pasta! Especially if you love all the spicy stuff like I do.
Simple hearty rigatoni bolognese with eggplant
This is the ultimate comfort food with thick rigatoni pasta, ground beef, eggplant slices, and a rich orange-red garlicky tomato sauce topped with oregano and parmesan cheese crumbles.
- 1 pound rigatoni
- 1 small eggplant about 1 pound, julienned
- 1 pound 96% lean ground beef
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- optional: parmesan cheese and parsley for garnish
Cooking the ground beef: Heat olive oil in a 3-quart pot over medium heat. Add garlic and ground beef to the pot, mixing and breaking up the ground meat as it cooks until it is mostly browned, about 5 minutes.
Cooking the eggplant: Add eggplant to the pot and cook until it’s very soft, stirring regularly, about 10 minutes.
Simmering the sauce: Add the entire can of crushed tomatoes and the heavy whipping cream to the pot. Mix well. Let simmer on low-medium heat until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add salt, oregano, and pepper. Mix well.
Cooking rigatoni: Cook the rigatoni according to package instructions. After cooking, drain and rinse the rigatoni with cold water. Miix the rigatoni with the bolognese sauce. Serve immediately.