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Linguine with Ratatouille Sauce

Yield 4
The vegetables that make up traditional Provençal ratatouille--eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and bell peppers--all go particularly well with basil. We've turned them into a pasta sauce that can also be served on polenta or on a hero with sausages.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into thin slices
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 small eggplant (about 1/2 pound), cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 zucchini (about 1/2 pound), cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 2/3 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (one 15-ounce can)
  • 2 teaspoons wine vinegar
  • 3/4 pound linguine
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons thin-sliced basil leaves

How to Make It

  1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant, zucchini, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Reduce the heat to moderately low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. Add the tomatoes and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar.

  3. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the linguine until just done, about 12 minutes. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta-cooking water. Drain the pasta and toss with the vegetables, the 1/2 cup basil, and, if the pasta seems too dry, some of the reserved pasta-cooking water. Serve topped with the 2 tablespoons basil.

  4. Wine Recommendation: The combined acidity of tomatoes and vinegar calls for a crisp, high-acid wine--one with enough earthiness to complement the vegetables. An unoaked chardonnay from northeastern Italy fills the bill.

Quick From Scratch Herbs & Spices