Three of my absolute favorites: Rigatoni, Eggplant and Ricotta Salata. All melded together in a spicy and chunky red sauce. I start off by frying up cubed pieces of eggplant and then incorporating them into the sauce. Strips of fresh basil and a generous helping of shaved ricotta salata is the final step to plating this colorful and flavorful dish.
Seasoning: Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Hot Pepper Flakes, Olive Oil
(2) Garlic Cloves
(1) Cup Dry Red Wine
(1) Can Peeled Plum Tomatoes
*Prep this by chopping up the whole tomatoes and reserving off to the side with all juices from the can.
(1)Can Tomato Paste
½ Cup Frying Oil (Canola Oil)
(1) Cup Flour
Wedge of Ricotta Salata
½ a Box of Rigatoni
Directions to Cook Eggplant:
*While you are doing this have the frying oil heating up in a pan on medium heat.
*Have your garlic for the sauce chopped and ready off to the side.
*Be sure off to the side you have a plate with paper towels to place the cooked eggplant – keep this plate a safe distance from the open flame.
– Wash and then cut each end off of the eggplant.
– Now cube the eggplant into pieces and throw into mixing bowl.
– Place three tablespoons of Olive Oil and 1 Cup of Flour along with a couple of sprinkles of Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder on top the eggplant.
– Mix till all is coated.
– Once completed fry up the eggplant pieces (in batches) till browned & let cool on plate off to the side.
* Once completed with frying do not turn off the heat just lower and throw garlic for sauce in and scrape up the bits at the bottom of the pan while browning the garlic.
* Note you will not be combining the eggplant with the sauce until it’s simmered for an ample enough time and the pasta is ready to put in the sauce.
Directions for Sauce:
– As said above brown the garlic in the oil already in pan from frying eggplant.
– Next add in the prepped chopped tomatoes and red wine.
– Tear up a couple of leaves of fresh basil and throw into the sauce and as well meld the tomato paste into the sauce.
– Sprinkle in pepper, salt and garlic powder to taste.
– Add in a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
– Let sauce simmer for about 30 minutes, spinning often.
– Get pasta boiled close to end time for the sauce.
Directions for Putting Together:
* While pasta is boiling cut up pieces of fresh basil and use a zester to grate the ricotta salata – put off to the side till plating.
– When pasta almost cooked through add the eggplant pieces to the sauce.
*The sauce may thicken up significantly if so you can thin the sauce by adding a spoon or two of pasta water into the sauce.
– Drain pasta and then add directly to the sauce.
– Mix till all is sufficiently combined.
– Plate two or so ladle’s of pasta into a bowl and top with fresh cuts of basil and a generous helping of grated ricotta salata.
Sit back and enjoy with a nice glass of red!
*No major side notes for alternates on this one – because its prefect the way it is. The only thing I would say is don’t be shy with the ricotta salata.
~ A.M.A. ~
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