Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes, Grilled Eggplant and Smoked Cheese

2 pounds firm young eggplant
salt
olive oil for brushing
2 1/2 pounds ripe red tomatoes
1/2 large onion
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
fresh ground pepper
3/4 cup red wine
fresh chopped flat-leaf italian parsley to taste
4 ounces smoked provola or mozzarella, cut in 1/4-inch dice
1 pound fusilli noodles, or other sturdy pasta

Wash and trim the eggplants and slice them lengthwise, 1/2-inch thick. Sprinkle them with salt on both sides and leave them in a glass dish for at least 30 minutes to release their excess water.

Squeeze the eggplant slices gently, then brush them lightly with olive oil. Grill them over hot coals for a few minutes on each side, until browned and tender. Cut the wide slices once lengthwise, then cut them all crosswise into strips.

Core and quarter the tomatoes, arrange them on a baking sheet and roast them in a 375 degree oven for about 30-45 minutes, or until they are browning on the edges. Scoop all the tomato pulp off of the skins.

Chop the onion and garlic, and sauté them in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until they begin to color. Add the roasted tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, the oregano and the wine. Simmer together until the tomatoes are reduced to a medium-thick sauce.

Cook the fusilli in boiling salted water until just al dente, and drain. In a large, warm bowl, toss the pasta together with the sauce, the eggplant strips, and the smoked cheese cubes. Serve at once, sprinkled with chopped Italian parsley.

Serves 6-8.



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