- 8–10 fairytale eggplants or 1 medium standard eggplant, cut into a large dice
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
- 1½ tsp salt, divided, plus more for seasoning the pasta water
- Freshly ground pepper
- 8 medium plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into chunks
- 2–3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ lb your favorite short pasta shape (I used one called Gigli, like that bad Ben Affleck/ J-Lo movie)
- 1 8oz ball of fresh mozzarella, diced
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 3 sprigs of basil, torn or cut into ribbons
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and set a medium pot of water on the stove to boil. Toss the eggplant with half the olive oil, ½ tsp salt and pepper to taste. Spread evenly out on a sheet pan and roast until golden brown, about 20 minutes, tossing once half way through.
- While the eggplant is cooking, place the tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until pureed, but still chunky.
- Pour remaining ¼ cup olive oil in a pan and sauté the garlic over medium heat until it just barely starts to toast, about 2 minutes. Add in the tomatoes, salt and pepper, and cook over medium high until reduced slightly, about 10 minutes.
- While the tomatoes are simmering, liberally salt the boiling water and drop in the pasta. Cook according to the directions on the package, until al dente. Drain the pasta, then add it to the pan with the tomatoes along with the roasted eggplant. Toss together and cook in the pan for another minute or two so the pasta can absorb the sauce. Remove from heat and toss with the fresh mozzarella, half the Parmigiano, and basil. Drizzle with a little more olive oil if desired, sprinkle with the rest of the Parmigiano and serve.
- I normally insist on peeling eggplant, as I find the skin can be both texturally unpleasant and bitter. But with these little guys, peeling would just be a pain in the ass. So I roasted them without peeling and it turns out their skins are much more delicate and mellow. So if you’re using a standard eggplant, my advice would be to peel it. But hey, you do whatever makes you happy.
- Serving Size: 2