I love eggplant and this traditional Sicilian dish is one of my favorites. The traditional way of making it is to fry the eggplant, but I like to roast it to keep the dish a bit lighter.
Technique tip: Roasting the eggplant prior to adding it to the sauce draws out excess moisture so you don't end up with watery sauce.
Swap option: Penne rigate or rigatoni can be substituted for campanelle pasta.
- 8 cups fresh eggplant, cut into 1¼-inch cubes
- Kosher salt
- 2½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, divided
- 3½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 pound campanelle pasta
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, slightly drained
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated ricotta salata
- Flat leaf parsley, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Spread eggplant cubes on a nonstick baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Let sit for 5-10 minutes then drizzle with 1½ tablespoons olive oil and toss to coat. Be sure eggplant is spread out on baking sheet, leaving space between the pieces. Roast for 30 minutes. When done, remove from oven and put aside until ready to use.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a few tablespoons of cooking liquid.
4. In a medium saucepan, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and remaining red pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant and golden, approximately 2-3 minutes.
5. Add tomato paste, tomatoes and oregano and cook until sauce has thickened a bit, approximately 6-8 minutes. Season with salt. Reduce to a simmer, add eggplant and cook until heated through.
6. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If sauce needs to be thinned a bit, add reserved pasta water until it reaches desired consistency.
7. Toss the pasta with the sauce and garnish with ricotta salata and fresh parsley. Serve immediately.