Pasta with Spicy Eggplant and Tomato Caponata
Servings: 4 - 6
- 1½ pounds eggplant (1 large or 2 small eggplants)
- ⅓ cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ¼ cup sherry vinegar
- 4 cups cherry tomatoes (2 pints)
- 4 small garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1 anchovy fillet (see note)
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for serving
- 1 pound rigatoni, penne, or ziti
- ⅓ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for serving
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Dice the eggplant into ¾-inch pieces and place on a sheet pan. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and toss. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, tossing occasionally, until very tender. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and begin the sauce. In a very large (12-inch) sauté pan or a Dutch oven, combine the raisins and vinegar and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vinegar has almost completely evaporated. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- In the same pan, heat the olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, anchovies, red pepper flakes, and 1½ teaspoons salt over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat to medium-low and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have burst and are starting to break down. Add the eggplant and the raisins, along with any vinegar left behind in the bowl, and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Off the heat, stir in the parsley and pine nuts.
- While the sauce cooks, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce (or transfer everything to the pasta pot if you need more room.) Toss well and serve hot, with more red pepper flakes and a sprinkle of parsley if desired.Note: To make this recipe vegetarian, substitute 1 tablespoon drained and roughly chopped capers.