Pasta with Eggplant and Basil

Pasta with Eggplant and Basil

Time: 50 minutes  Yield: 3-4 servings

I medium to large eggplant
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. minced garlic
Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
2 cups fresh or canned plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
¼ cup shredded basil leaves plus more for garnish
1 pound spaghetti or linguini

1.  Preheat oven to 450º.  Cut eggplant into 3/4”  cubes.  Place in colander and lightly salt.  Let drain for 20 minutes then pat dry with paper towels. (You may omit the salting if you do not have time, but it helps pull some of the liquid and bitter flavor from the eggplant.)

2. Toss the eggplant in 1 Tbs. oil and scatter in roasting pan.  Roast about 20 minutes or until tender but not mushy, stirring once or twice.

3. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbs. oil in a large skillet and add garlic and red pepper (if using.)  Saute for a minute and then add tomatoes with their juices and a pinch of salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally until tomatoes break up and mixture becomes saucy.  Taste for seasoning.  Add eggplant and remove from heata.

4. Boil large pot of water and cook pasta.  Drain and add to pan with sauce.  Toss lightly then add basil and toss again.  Garnish with additional basil.

Adapted from Mark Bittman “How to Cook Everything”