Growing up, Sundays in my house almost always began with tomato sauce simmering on the stovetop and meatballs browned in a skillet ready to be added to the sauce. I continued the tradition with my own family…but in my restaurant I mixed this classic combo up a bit by taking classic meatballs and stuffing them with roasted eggplant!!
Though my parents may have thought this sacrilege, when it came to making this classic dish for myself…I pulled out all stops by adding them to spaghetti and then topping it with Thai basil and fried jalapeño! So in a sense this is an international version of this classic Italian dish!
For the Meatballs – see this recipe but eliminate the mozzarella
1 medium eggplant – cut into 1/4″ circles (skin on)
1 lb. spagetti (or your favorite pasta)
1 batch tomato sauce – see this recipe
1 jalapeno pepper – seeds removed and diced small
1/4 cup olive oil for frying the pepper
Top with parmesan and chopped Thai or other basil
Place the cut eggplant and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast, covered with foil in a 375 degree oven (190.5 C) until soft. About 20 minutes. Dice and include in the meatball mixture in the recipe above. Mix and continue the recipe as instructed.
For the fried peppers, place a skillet over medium/high heat, add oil and heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chopped peppers and cook just until they begin to wilt (about 2 minutes). Remove into a side dish with a small about of the oil included. Add salt.
In the meantime, make the tomato sauce according the the recipe above and cook the pasta according to package instruction.
Toss the pasta in a small amount of sauce. Divide onto individual plates. Top with the cheese, the peppers and the basil. Serve immediately!