Pasta Arrabbiata with Eggplant
Salt to taste
1 pound penne pasta
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (eyeball it)
1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped
2 pounds chopped tomatoes
Flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (a generous handful)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
20 basil leaves, shredded
Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese, to pass around the table
1Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a ladle of the water.
2 While the pasta is working, in a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil, the garlic, and the crushed red pepper over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant, season with salt and cook until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
3 Using a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon, break up the eggplant into a coarse, thick sauce. Stir in the tomatoes and heat through, then stir in the parsley and simmer for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir in the reserved pasta cooking water, add the pasta and toss.
4 To serve, divide the pasta among 4 shallow plates or bowls. Place 1/4 cup ricotta cheese alongside each serving (to mix into each bite of the pasta as you eat it). Sprinkle with the basil.