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Katie Lee's Penne with Eggplant, Tomato and Mozzarella
Katie Lee's "Cheat Sheet" Penne with Eggplant, Tomatoes, and Mozzarella
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I love "cheat sheet" recipes because clean up is a breeze! Eggplant soaks up oil like a sponge, so when it's cooked in a skillet, I find that I have to add more oil than when I roast it. This is a really quick and easy way to make a very satisfying, delicious pasta on a week night.

Technique tip: Put the baking sheet in the oven while it preheats. When you add the vegetables to the hot pan, the cooking process starts immediately and it will give a nice sear.

Swap option: Swapping smoked mozzarella for regular mozzarella will give a different flavor. Try red peppers instead of tomatoes.


    • 1 medium eggplant, cut into a 1/2-inch dice
    • Two 10.5-ounce containers grape tomatoes
    • 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil plus 1 tablespoon, divided
    • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
    • 12 ounces penne pasta
    • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into a 1/2-inch dice
    • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
    • 6 fresh basil leaves, torn


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place a large sheet pan in the oven while it heats (if your sheet pan is on the smaller side, you may need to use two).

2. In a large bowl, combine eggplant, tomatoes, onion and garlic. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Toss to evenly coat.

3. Remove sheet pan from oven. Transfer eggplant and tomato mixture to sheet pan. Spread out the mixture evenly onto the pan and avoid over-crowding. Return pan to the oven and bake for 40 minutes.

4. While the eggplant and tomato mixture is baking, bring a large pot of water to boil. Season generously with salt. Add pasta and cook to al dente to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large serving bowl.

5. Toss eggplant and tomato mixture with pasta, mozzarella, Parmesan, basil and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Serve with additional Parmesan, if desired.

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Chef Katie Lee makes an easy vegetable pasta

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