Eggplant and capers, which are among Sicily's staple ingredients, add a delectable flavor to this summery pasta sauce. If you can't find bucatini (long, hollow pasta), you can use linguine or spaghetti. Prepare the sauce up to 2 days in advance, and then reheat gently over medium-low heat while you cook the pasta.
2 large yellow bell peppers
1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3/4 pound)
1 cup water
2 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
2 tablespoons capers
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
12 ounces bucatini or linguine
3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated ricotta salata or Romano cheese
How to Make It
Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise, and discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 10 minutes or until peppers are blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag, and seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and cut into strips. Reduce oven temperature to 425°.
Arrange the eggplant cubes in a single layer in a 2-quart baking dish. Pour 1 cup water over the eggplant. Bake at 425° for 35 minutes or until eggplant is tender, adding more water as needed.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oregano, capers, and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in eggplant, bell peppers, salt, black pepper, and tomatoes. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
Combine pasta, eggplant mixture, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large bowl, tossing to coat. Add the reserved cooking liquid, if necessary, to coat the pasta. Sprinkle with cheese.
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This was so good! I think you really need to use all the ingredients listed, including excellent bucatini pasta, which can be bought online (Bucatini Pasta di Gragnano is available on amazon)--it makes a world of difference. I also added a heaping tablespoon of Cooking Light Basic Pesto, and if you don't have any made, I suggest buying a jar of pesto to add in. I would suggest cutting the eggplant fairly small, and I found the oven method of pre-cooking it to be great, leaving the eggplant moist and soft. I also made the sauce the night before so the flavors could meld. With a small salad and piece of baguette, this was a fabulous meal. I made half the recipe (just two of us) and my husband ate two servings, and I had one. This was a wow!
This is good, not stupendous. I wanted to make something eggplant-focused, and this was drowned out by the yellow peppers. My mistake. I omitted capers and used grated fresh mozzarella and canned diced tomatoes. And, this was a lot of work, prepping the peppers and eggplant. Won't do it again.
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