I have always known that I liked eggplant but I now realize how much I LOVE eggplant! The past few dishes I have made that featured eggplant have been some of my favorites– Eggplant and Wild Mushroom “Meatballs” and Grilled Eggplant Parmesan. I am going to add this dish to that list.
This is a simple but wonderful dish fit to serve guests. I served it over fresh Italian Tagliatelle. The fresh pasta, fresh herbs, and the ricotta salata made it special. This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Mark Bittman. We ate it with visiting family after enjoying Raspberry Cocktails and Bruschetta Rossa. GREAT!
- Total Time: About 45 minutes
- Serves: 4 to 6
- 1 1/2 to 2 pounds eggplant
- Olive oil as needed (at least 1/2 cup)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 28 oz canned San Marzano tomatoes, chopped
- 1 teaspoon good dried oregano, or 1 tablespoon fresh
- 1 pound long pasta (I used fresh Italian Tagliatelle)
- 1/2 cup chopped basil
- 1/2 to 1 cup grated ricotta salata (or in a pinch, pecorino Romano)
- Slice the eggplant about 1/2 inch thick. Cook in abundant olive oil, without crowding, sprinkling with salt and adding more oil as needed. You will undoubtedly have to cook in batches; take your time and cook until the eggplant is nicely browned and soft. Remove to a plate; do not drain on paper towels. Meanwhile, put a large pot of water to boil and salt it.
- At the end of the cooking the eggplant, the pan will ideally have a couple of tablespoons of oil left. If there’s more or less, drain some off or add a bit. Turn the heat to medium, add the garlic and chiles, and cook until the garlic colors a little bit. Add the tomatoes and oregano, along with some (salt) and pepper; cook until saucy but not too dry, stirring occasionally.
- Cook the pasta until tender but not mushy. (About 3-4 minutes for fresh pasta.) While it’s cooking, cut the eggplant into strips and reheat for a minute in the tomato sauce. Drain the pasta and toss it with the tomato sauce and the eggplant. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then top with the basil and grated cheese and serve.