Pasta with Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes

1 large or 2 small globe eggplants
1/2 pound penne or rigatoni or pasta shells
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
pinch hot pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried oregano or 4 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, optional

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Prick eggplant in a few places with a knife. Place on baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes, turning occasionally for even cooking, until it's tender but not falling apart. When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, peel remove large seed pockets, and dice the pulp. Set it in a drainer to rid it of bitter juices.

Bring a large pot of salted water up to a boil. Drop in the pasta and stir.

Warm the tomato sauce in a large sauté pan over moderate heat.

Add the eggplant and the rest of the ingredients and warm through. (If you like you may stir in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil for a bit of richness.)

Season to taste. Adjust salt, pepper and hot pepper. If the tomatoes are tart, add a pinch of sugar to compensate. When the pasta is al dente, drain and toss with the sauce. Serve at once.

Serves 2 generously or makes 4 appetizer portions



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