Rachael Ray's Charred Eggplant & Meat Sauce with Paccheri

Charred eggplant adds a smoky, earthy flavor to meat sauce. The technique used here—halving and broiling the eggplant rather than roasting it whole—trims the cooking time to suit a 30-Minute Meal.
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Charred Eggplant & Meat Sauce with Paccheri

Recipe by Rachael Ray

  • 4Servings


  • 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.