Rigatoni with Sausage, Eggplant & Fennel

Servings: 4-6


  • 2 lbs sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (we use Cento or 28-ounces prepared Basic Tomato Sauce )
  • 2 medium eggplants, cubed
  • coarse salt to sprinkle over cubed eggplant to drain excess water
  • 1 large fennel bulb, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (we use Dorot frozen crushed cubes)
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon EVOO
  • 1 lb rigatoni pasta (we use Barilla)
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (we use Cello from Costco)
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta (we use Galbani Classic)
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • pinch of pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 pinches of Italian seasoning (we use Morton & Bassett)
  • fresh basil leaves for garnish


  • Add cubed eggplant to a colander along with a generous amount of course salt & drain for 30 minutes.
  • Heat EVOO in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add pancetta and cook 4-5 minutes until browned & crispy, stirring occasionally. Add sausage to skillet & cook 7-8 minutes until golden brown. Remove the sausage & pancetta with a slotted spoon. Set aside in large bowl.
  • Set aside 3 Tablespoons of the oil & fat from the skillet and discard the rest.
  • Add fennel & onions to skillet along with a pinch of salt & pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Add eggplant to fennel & onions and cook an additional 5 minutes.
  • Add the sausage & pancetta mixture back to the skillet.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Simmer for 40 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • While mixture is simmering, cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water then drain pasta in a colander.
  • Add the pasta and the 1/2 cup pasta water to the skillet then cook 1 additional minute to incorporate. Stir in the 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese.
  • Add the pasta to a large serving bowl and top with spoonfuls of ricotta cheese and basil leaves.

This is a fabulous dish for a gathering of good friends accompanied by a simple salad, crusty Italian bread and a glass of dry red wine.

Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below or Tag @twinsinthekitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #twiinsinthekitchen.



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