Recipe by Rachael Ray
1 heavy, firm eggplant (about 1 lb.)
2 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for brushing
Salt and pepper
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. hot Italian sausage, casings removed
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. (about 1/3 palmful) fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. (a fat pinch) ground allspice
2 tbsp. sun-dried tomato paste
1 can (28 oz.) crushed or chopped Italian tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock or water
1 lb. (or 500 grams) paccheri or large rigatoni
About 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for passing at the table
A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1. Preheat the broiler to high. Halve the eggplant lengthwise. Brush the cut sides with oil; season with salt and pepper. Place the eggplant, cut-side down, on a baking sheet. Broil until the skin is charred, the flesh is tender, and the eggplant collapses, about 20 minutes. Using tongs, turn the eggplant over. With the top edge of a chef’s knife, scrape the flesh from the skin into a medium bowl. Mash until smooth. Discard the skin.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
3. For the sauce, in a large deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp. oil, two turns of the pan, over medium-high. Add the beef and sausage. Cook, stirring often and breaking the meat up with a spoon, until browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic, fennel seeds, cumin, and allspice; season. Stir in the tomato paste. Stir until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stock. Reduce heat a bit. Let the sauce simmer at a low bubble.
4. Salt the boiling water and add the pasta. Cook until 1 minute shy of the package directions. Scoop out about 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.
5. Stir the mashed eggplant into the sauce. Add the pasta, cooking water, about 1 cup cheese, and the parsley. Toss until the pasta is coated and the cheese melts, about 1 minute; season. Serve with more cheese to pass at the table.