* 3 medium eggplants, sliced into small cubes (2 to 3 cups)
* ¼ cup olive oil, plus more if needed
* ¼ cup onions, minced
* 1 stalk celery, minced (about ¼ cup)
* 1 medium carrot, minced (about ¾ cup)
* 1 small red bell pepper, cored and minced (about ¼ cup)
* 250 grams fresh mushrooms (button, shitake or combination of both), stems removed and caps minced
* salt and pepper (to taste)
* ½ cup red wine (optional)
* 2 800-gram cans tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
* 1 cup water
* 1 cup fresh basil, sliced into thin strips
* 600 grams pasta, cooked according to package directions
* freshly grated parmesan cheese, to serve.
1) Soak eggplants in 3 cups water mixed with 1 tablespoon salt for 10 minutes; rinse. Drain well.
2) Heat oil in a large saucepot. Sauté onions over medium-low heat until translucent, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add celery, carrot, eggplants, bell pepper and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Add more oil if the pan is a little dry.
3) Turn up heat to medium-high and add red wine, if using. Stir constantly over low heat for 10 minutes and let wine reduce until almost dry.
4) Add tomatoes and water; simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning, if needed. Turn off heat and add basil.
5) Add pasta and toss to mix well. Place in a serving dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.