Penne with Eggplant (version II)

2 medium eggplants, peeled
1 cup (more if needed) olive oil for frying eggplant
2 tablespoons olive oil for onion sauté
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, cut in half
2 large (28 ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes, put through food mill
12 basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons capers
salt and freshly milled pepper to taste
1 pound penne
grated ricotta salata cheese to taste

Cut eggplant into 1/2-inch slices, discarding the ends. Salt and drain in a colander a minimum of one hour. Pat the eggplant slices dry, then cut them into cubes.

Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Fry eggplant on both sides until golden. You may need additional oil as eggplant soaks up oil. Drain on paper towels.

In separate pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and cook onion until soft. Add garlic. (See note below) Continue cooking until onion becomes translucent. Stir in tomatoes. Cook at a simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in basil, capers eggplant, salt and pepper to taste. Capers are salty, so be careful with the amount of salt.

Cook penne in rapidly boiling, salted water until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain well in colander.

When drained, pour pasta into serving bowl and pour sauce over all. Toss well.

Serve with grated ricotta salata cheese.

Serves: 4

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