Fresh basil leaves, red chili flakes and parmesan (or vegan parmesan), for garnish
1pound dried pasta of choice (like rigatoni, ziti or other pasta shape)
Bake the eggplant. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the eggplant in the middle of the oven and bake until very tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove to let cool while you prepare the rest of the sauce.
Brown the vegetables. Heat the oil in a large pot and in the onion, celery, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until very tender and soft, 15-20 minutes. Add in the garlic and the dried herbs and cook another 30-60 seconds.
Stir in the wine and the tomato paste. Add in the wine and cook until reduced by half, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Add the eggplant. Remove the eggplant from the skin and coarsely chop. Add into the sauce along with the crushed tomatoes and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, then simmer over low heat for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be quite thick.
Serve the pasta. When ready to serve, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until just under al dente (about 2 minutes from package directions). Drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water. Add 1/2 the sauce to the pot you just cooked the pasta in along with the cooked pasta and a generous splash of the reserved pasta water. Cook over low heat, tossing the entire time, until the pasta is al dente and cooked through. Add more sauce/pasta water as needed to thin and coat. Serve with more sauce as desired, fresh basil leaves, red pepper flakes and parm cheese as desired.