Thai-Style Fusilli with Eggplant and Shiitake

6 ounces fusilli (long spiral spaghetti)
1 small eggplant (about 1/2 pound)
1/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 bunch scallions
6 vine-ripened cherry tomatoes
1/4 fresh jalapeño chili
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh gingerroot
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves

Fill a 4-quart kettle three-fourths full with salted water and bring to a boil for cooking fusilli.

Cut eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes and transfer to a colander set over a bowl. Sprinkle eggplant lightly with salt and let drain 10 minutes.

While eggplant is draining, discard stems from mushrooms and cut caps into 3/4-inch pieces. Cut scallions diagonally into thin slices. Quarter tomatoes and chop jalapeño including seeds (wear rubber gloves).

Rinse eggplant and squeeze dry, discarding any liquid in bowl.

Boil fusilli until al dente. While fusilli is boiling, in a large non-stick skillet cook gingerroot and garlic in oil over moderately high heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add eggplant and mushrooms and sauté, stirring constantly, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add scallions and sauté, stirring, until eggplant is tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, tomatoes, jalapeño, basil, and salt and pepper to taste and cook just until heated through, about 30 seconds.

Drain fusilli in a colander and in a bowl toss with sauce.

If canned unsweetened coconut milk is not readily available in your area, you may substitute 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1 tablespoon sweetened flaked coconut

Serves 2.

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