This is a great dish for anyone that thinks they don't like eggplant. Salting the eggplant and cooking until its soft and creamy helps it melt into the hot pasta. It's also an easy and hearty vegetarian meal!
- 1 medium to large eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- kosher salt
- 12 ounces penne rigate
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved if large
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 8 ounces small mozzarella balls (pearls)
- 1/4 cup torn basil leaves
1. Put the eggplant in a colander and toss with 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand, tossing occasionally, for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Rinse and drain well then pat dry on paper towels.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the penne according to package directions.
3. While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, until very tender and golden-brown, about 8 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes, garlic and capers, and cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes start to break down, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a large bowl.
4. Add the drained pasta to the bowl with the eggplant mixture and stir in the vinegar; add salt to taste. Let stand until cooled to slightly warm or room temperature and then stir in the mozzarella and basil. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.