Skip to content

Sausage and Eggplant Baked Pasta

  • Last Updated:

Sausage and eggplant come together with creamy ricotta and tangy parmesan cheese to create an Italian American comfort dish classic.

Sausage and eggplant baked pasta

My husband’s family is Italian, so you can only imagine how sacred pasta is in our home. Italian food is eaten in our home as often as Lebanese food, as our family culture stems a lot from delicious food! Today I’m sharing a slight twist on a classic comfort food, Sausage and Eggplant Baked Pasta. If you like a baked ziti, then you’ll love this baked pasta dish.

Ingredients

  • Pasta: I prefer to use penne or bowtie pasta, but whatever you choose, swap the white pasta out for the whole wheat variety to add protein and fiber.
  • Sausage: In my dish, I used a mild turkey sausage, but you could mix it up with sweet or spicy, and use pork sausage if you don’t care about the added fat.
  • Onion: I use a white onion as it’s mild, but caramelizes to add delicious flavor.
  • Garlic: Nutty, earthy, and sweet as it cooks, it’s a staple in most Italian dishes.
  • Eggplant: Adding the eggplant adds meatiness so you can use less sausage. Eggplant also absorbs the flavors of whatever it’s cooked in, while adding creamy texture.
  • Tomato sauce: I like to use a classic flavor, like tomato and basil, but use what you have! Store-bought or homemade work great.
  • Ricotta: A great source of calcium and slightly sweet, it’s a classic cheese used in baked dishes like lasagna.
  • Egg: Acts as a binder in the ricotta mixture so that it stays in place while baking.
  • Parsley: Adds fresh, earthy flavor to the dish.
  • Parmesan: Salty, nutty, and full of flavor, you won’t need to pile on as much cheese for a pungent flavor.

How to Make Sausage and Eggplant Baked Pasta

Liz cubing an eggplant

Start your Sausage and Eggplant Baked Pasta by preparing your produce, like cutting the eggplant into cubes, dicing your onion, and mincing the parsley.

Cooking sausage in skillet

Then in a large skillet, brown your sausage (removed from the casing). Once fully browned and cooked, remove from skillet and set aside.

Cokking pasta

While the sausage is browning, get your pasta cooking in salted, boiling water.

Grating garlic into skillet

Then in the same pan you cooked the sausge, add the diced onion and grated garlic with a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until soft and caramelized.

Adding eggplant to onion

Add in the cubed eggplant with another pinch of salt and pepper and cook until soft.

Adding tomato sauce to sausage and eggplant

Next add your favorite tomato sauce to the sausage and eggplant, and stir until evenly mixed. Remove from heat.

Adding eggplant and sausage mixture to pasta

Once pasta is cooked and drained, add the sausage, eggplant sauce and stir until evenly coated.

Cracking egg into ricotta

Then to create your ricotta layer, put your ricotta cheese in a medium bowl and add in your egg.

Mixing ricotta with egg and parsley

Add in the freshly chopped parsley and mix until combined.

Layering pasta and ricotta cheese mixture in dish

Then in your preferred baking dish, begin layering 1/3 of the pasta, covered by half of the ricotta, and continue until gone. Sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese before covering with foil.

Spoonful of sausage and eggplant baked pasta

Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes, broiling for the last few minutes to create a bubbly, cheesy layer on top. Then serve with fresh parsley and basil, and enjoy your Sausage and Eggplant Baked Pasta!

Easy Substitutions

  • Make it gluten-free. Use your favorite gluten-free pasta and sausage to make this dish celiac friendly.
  • Make it vegetarian. There are so many wonderful plant-based sausages these days, so use that instead!

Frequently ASked Questions:

Is soaking eggplant necessary?

You can, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Some people soak eggplant in milk or salt water, thinking it adds to the creamy texture. But when its in a bake like this, I don’t think it needs any extra help!

How do you keep pasta from getting hard in pasta bake?

Start with slightly undercooked pasta, as they will keep cooking in the oven. Then make sure that there is enough liquid and moisture in the dish to cover the majority of it. The only noodles that should be slightly hard are the ones on top or that have corners sticking out of the sauce.

How do you store leftover pasta bake?

Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

sausage and eggplant baked pasta

More Italian Dishes

Eat It, Like It, Share it!

Did you try this pasta recipe? The next time you make it, snap a picture and share it to your socials! Tag @thelemonbowl and #thelemonbowl so we can admire and share your dish.

Liz eating sausage and eggplant baked pasta.

A delicious, kid-friendly meal that takes little effort, the whole family will enjoy my Sausage and Eggplant Baked Pasta.

Your fork is waiting.

Sasuage and eggplant baked pasta

Sausage and Eggplant Baked Pasta

4.20 stars average
Sausage and eggplant come together with creamy ricotta and tangy parmesan cheese to create an Italian American comfort dish classic.
PREP: 10 mins
COOK: 45 mins
TOTAL: 55 mins
Servings: 6

Ingredients
 

  • 6 ounces whole wheat penne (cooked according to package instructions)
  • 2 Italian sausage links (sweet or spicy)
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 eggplant (diced – skin for added nutrients)
  • 2 cups tomato basil sauce ((canned or homemade low sodium preferred))
  • 15 ounces ricotta (part skim)
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup parsley
  • ¼ cup parmesan
  • basil and parsley to serve

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Remove sausage from casings and cook over medium-high heat in a sauce pot sprayed with non-stick spray. Brown 8-9 minutes; remove from pan and set aside.
  • Add onion and garlic to the pan with a good pinch of salt and pepper and saute until softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, mix together ricotta, egg and parsley in a small bowl; set aside.
  • Add eggplant to the onion mixture with another pinch of salt and pepper stirring frequently until softened, about 6-7 minutes.
  • Add tomato basil sauce to the pan along with cooked sausage and pasta. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly; remove from heat.
  • Pour 1/3 of the pasta/sausage mixture into a 9 x 13 baking pan then top with half of the ricotta mixture using a tablespoon to create big dollops. Add another 1/3 of the pasta mixture and top with the remaining half of the ricotta. Finally, add the remaining pasta then sprinkle parmesan cheese evenly on top.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Turn broiler on high for the last few minutes to create a bubbly, cheesey, delicious topping.

Notes

When browning sausage, don’t be afraid of a little color. The browner, the better, because brown = flavor!

Nutrition

Calories: 355kcalCarbohydrates: 40.5gProtein: 19.7gFat: 14.4gSaturated Fat: 4.9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9.5gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 1014mgFiber: 7.7gSugar: 8.1g

SHOW AND TELL ON INSTAGRAM!Show me your creation and rate it below! Mention @thelemonbowl or tag #thelemonbowl! I would LOVE to see!
nv-author-image

Liz DellaCroce

Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been sharing delicious recipes that just so happen to be healthy. By using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality, Liz has built a growing audience of loyal readers who crave good food for their families. Click Here To Subscribe to my newsletter:

8 Comments

  1. Made this tonight – so so good! I lightened it further using fat free ricotta & it was still wonderful. 445 cals for 1/4 of the recipe – a huge portion! Will make this again for sure!!

      1. Turned out great! Even with the entire bag of pasta. We have LOTS of leftovers in the freezer. I’m excited to try it again in the future with only 6 oz, because I’m sure it will taste entirely different.

  2. I think you’ve inspired me to make a baked Italian dish for tonight! We just scored a bunch of ricotta, mozzarella and veggies, so this sounds perfect. And normally I love eggplant, but since zucchini is what we’ve got, I’ll grill some of that and do a variation on this recipe :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your feedback is important to us. Rate what you thought of this.




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.