Eggplant, Caramelized Onion, and Tomato Pasta

Recipe from Chez Panisse

Ingredients
  • 1 to 2 globe eggplants (4-5 Japanese eggplants), to yield about 4 to 6 cups of diced eggplant
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced (about 2 cups sliced)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 handful basil leaves
  • kosher salt
  • ¾ lb. pasta such as Gemelli or whatever you like best
  • sherry vinegar
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (I use Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce)
  • red pepper flakes
  • ½ lb. ricotta salata cheese (or grated Parmigiano Reggiano over top)
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    Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cut the eggplants into cubes about 3/4-inch square, toss them lightly with olive oil and spread them out in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes or so, until the eggplant is brown and tender.
    2. Put a large (or small) pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add a large pinch of kosher salt. Cook the pasta al dente.
    3. Meanwhile, heat a large sauté pan with the olive oil and onions over medium heat. Season with salt and sauté the onions until just caramelized, about 20 minutes to 25 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a moment more, and then deglaze with a splash of sherry vinegar. Add the eggplant, tomato sauce, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Heat the sauce to simmering. Drain the pasta, add it to the tomato sauce pan, and toss gently. Chiffonade the basil and add it the pan.
    4. Serve the pasta with the ricotta (or Parmigiano Reggiano) crumbled over the top.