Spaghetti with Eggplant and Mozzarella
1 pound eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 Salt the eggplant and let it drain in a colander for 30 minutes or longer. Dry it well with paper towels, pressing the eggplant to remove moisture.
2 tablespoons salt, as needed
2 cup oil for frying, as needed
2 garlic clove, lightly smashed
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 pound cherry tomatoes, cut in halves or quarters
12 ounces spaghetti
2 tablespoons basil, or parsley, finely cut
8 ounces whole-milk mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
2 In a skillet, heat about 1/2-inch of oil and fry the eggplant until it is soft and lightly browned. Remove the eggplant with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper.
3 Pour out and discard all but about 2 tablespoons of the frying oil. Add the garlic and the pepper flakes and place over low heat. Cook the garlic, pressing it into the oil a couple of times to release its flavor, until it barely begins to color on both sides. Remove the garlic.
4 Add the tomatoes, immediately cover the pan, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook the tomatoes until they fall apart and become saucy, about 8 minutes.
5 Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti until al dente (firm to the bite) in plenty of boiling salted water.
6 Just before the pasta is done, add the eggplant cubes to the tomato sauce, lower the heat, and cook gently, still covered, for another minute or so.
7 Drain the spaghetti and turn it into a well-warmed serving bowl. Add the eggplant and tomato sauce, plus the finely cut basil. Toss well. Add the mozzarella and toss again.
8 Serve immediately, passing grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
This recipe serves: 4
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