You get a lot of lovable stuff on this plate: chewy pasta, silky eggplant, smoked almonds, and sun-dried tomatoes. They sell themselves.
Eggplant is notoriously difficult to cook to pleasing texture. It can turn mushy, which becomes an advantage if you're making pasta sauce. Cooked with white wine and garlic, it's a great autumnal alternative to tomato sauce.
Now for the ease with which you can get all that lovable stuff onto your plate. Come home, pour yourself a glass of wine (or don't), chop an eggplant, chop some garlic, run your knife through the tomatoes and almonds. Put the sauce ingredients in a pan (don't even bother sauteing), cover, and walk away while it simmers. Put your feet up. Read a magazine story (or don't). Sweat absolutely nothing. Boil some pasta, and dinner is served.
Penne in Dead Simple Eggplant Sauce with Smoked Almonds and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
serves about 6
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium globe eggplant, 1 1/4 lbs total weight, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch cubes
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP nutritional yeast
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
1 cup dry white wine
scant 1/4 cup julienned sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP salted smoked almonds, chopped
1 lb whole wheat penne, or other pasta
Add the oil, cubed eggplant, garlic, oregano, salt, and nutritional yeast to a large skillet. Pour wine over skillet contents. Cover, bring wine to a boil, and reduce heat to low to maintain a steady simmer. Cook, covered, 30 minutes. Use a potato masher to create a pulpy sauce. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes, cover again, and keep warm.
Cook pasta according to package directions (10-11 minutes for al dente whole wheat penne). Drain well. Add to a large serving bowl. Pour the sauce in, toss well, and top with chopped smoked almonds. Serve at once.