Pasta with Roasted Eggplant, Ricotta, and Basil

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3/4 pound eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, sliced thin (about 1 cup)
1/2 pound vine-ripened plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (about 4)
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, or to taste
1/2 pound rotelle or ziti
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a jelly-roll pan toss eggplant with 1 tablespoon oil and salt and pepper to taste and roast in oven, shaking pan occasionally, until golden and tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

While eggplant is roasting, in a heavy skillet cook onion, garlic, and bell pepper with salt and pepper to taste in remaining tablespoon oil over moderate heat, stirring, until softened. Add tomatoes and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes and pepper are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in vinegar and roasted eggplant.

In a kettle of boiling salted water cook pasta until al dente and drain well, reserving about 3/4 cup cooking water . In a bowl toss pasta well with sauce, ricotta, basil, Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste, and enough reserved cooking water to reach desired consistency.

Serves 2.

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