Fusilli with Roasted Eggplant Sauce

1-1/2 pounds dark purple, slender Italian or Japanese eggplants
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup tomato spaghetti sauce
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons minced parsley
1 pound dried fusilli
2/3 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Prick eggplants with a sharp knife in a couple of places, then place on a baking sheet or in a low-sided baking dish. Roast until tender when pierced, 45 to 50 minutes. When cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise, scrape the pulp away from the skin with a spoon and chop pulp until reduced to a near-purée. In a 12-inch skillet, combine chopped eggplant, olive oil, tomato sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the parsley.

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Transfer pasta to a large warm bowl. Add sauce and toss to coat. Add all but 1/4 cup cheese and toss again, adding a little of the reserved cooking water if needed to thin the sauce. Serve immediately on warm dishes, topping each portion with some of the remaining cheese and parsley.

Serves 4

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