Perciatelli with Roasted Tomatoes and Eggplant

1 medium eggplant, 1 pound, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 plum tomatoes about 1 1/4 pounds, cored and quartered lengthwise
1 pound cherry tomatoes, stems removed
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 red bell peppers
2 yellow bell peppers
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound perciatelli
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, for garnish optional

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl, combine eggplant, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; toss to combine. Transfer to a baking pan in a single layer.

Place all tomatoes and garlic cloves in a second pan.

Transfer both pans to oven. Roast eggplant until brown and tender, about 40 minutes; roast garlic and tomatoes until garlic is soft and tomatoes are shriveled, about 30 minutes.

When cool enough to handle, squeeze soft garlic from cloves.

Meanwhile, place peppers over a gas burner with a high flame; roast until charred on all sides, turning as needed, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a metal bowl; cover with plastic wrap for 20 minutes.

Using a paper towel, rub charred skin off peppers. Remove and discard seeds and stems. Place 1 red and 1 yellow pepper and any liquid collected in bowl, in the bowl of a food processor. Add roasted garlic, plum tomatoes, vinegar, cayenne, remaining tablespoons olive oil and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 3/8 teaspoon pepper; process until smooth. Cut remaining peppers into 1/4 inch thick strips; set aside.

Fill a large stockpot with salted water; bring to a boil. Place pasta in water; boil until pasta is al dente, about 11 minutes. Drain in a colander; transfer to a serving bowl. Pour puree over pasta; toss to combine. Add basil, roasted eggplant, cherry tomatoes and reserved pepper strips; toss.

Serve garnished with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.



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