- 1 lb Baia Pasta Durum Ringlets
- 2 large firm eggplants (about 2 pounds total)
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 28-oz can Bianco diNapoli crushed tomatoes
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded
- 1 tablespoon Chilicali Sambal (optional but boy, oh so good)
- 1 cup freshly grated ricotta salata (or pecorino if you can’t find ricotta salata)
- salt and pepper
- Baia Pasta extra virgin olive oil
BUYa kit to cook this recipe
A very classic dish from Catania, Sicily. Nothing beats the deep flavor of a fried eggplant especially when adding tomatoes, basil, ricotta salata, and our pasta in the background. We present it here with a twist, a good tablespoon of Indonesian Sambal: you’re welcome, no seriously, most tasty addition to this dish.
Trim the stems from the eggplants. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes, and toss in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Dump into a colander, and let drain for 1 hour. Rinse the eggplant under cool running water, drain thoroughly, and pat dry. Preheat a pan, add a couple tablespoons of oil and fry the eggplant in batches. The eggplant will absorb most of the oil to then release it back when fully fried. Make sure you always have enough oil in the pan so they don’t burn. Turn and stir the eggplant cubes gently once or twice so they cook evenly. You want the eggplant cubes to keep their structure and have some nice color. Set aside and let drain on paper towels. Keep the leftover oil in the pan, it will be the base for the sauce.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat for the pasta. Heat the olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Scatter in the garlic, and cook, shaking the pan, until golden, about 3 minutes. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, add the pepper flakes, and season lightly with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in a good tablespoon of Chilicali Sambal if you want to add extra pizzazz to the sauce.
Cook pasta until al dente, then drain and add half of the sauce, tossing lightly to coat the pasta. Stir in the basil, add half of the fried eggplant and toss. Then add the ricotta, stirring it gently into the pasta; you want the ricotta to warm, but you do not want it to blend with the sauce completely.
Plate the pasta, and spoon the reserved sauce over each serving; then divide the remaining fried eggplant on top of each pasta plate. Sprinkle with the remaining ricotta salata, and serve.