Rigatoni con Melanzana (Pasta with Eggplant)
One pound of rigatoni, Penne or Ziti
2 small eggplants
4 tablespoons of Olive Tap Italiano, Nocellara or Castile 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 large tomatoes, peeled and seeded
1 small onion, chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 tablespoon fresh oregano (1 teaspoon dried)
3 cloves of garlic minced
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper (2 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper)
8 – 10 fresh basil leaves, minced
Peel and cut the eggplant into ½ inch to ¾ inch cubes. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let the eggplant sit for 45 minutes, allowing the bitter juices to be purged. Rinse, drain, and pat cubes dry. Heat a deep pan to medium-high, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and allow it to heat up until it shimmers. Do not let it smoke. Add the eggplant and sauté until browned and soft. Drain and set aside.
Heat up the pan again and add the two remaining tablespoons olive oil. Heat until hot. Add tomatoes, onion, carrot, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper and basil leaves. Cook for one-half hour, stirring often to prevent from sticking to the pot and burning.
Start heating up the water for the pasta
Pour the sauce into a pot and add the eggplant. Heat to medium, and stir gently for 15 to 20 minutes.
Cook the pasta, drain, reserving a cup of the water, and place into a hot bowl. If the sauce seems too thick, add some of the reserved water and stir mixing thoroughly. Pour the sauce on top of the pasta, sprinkle with grated cheese, and serve.