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Penne with Eggplant, Tomato & Basil

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Serves four.

Not sure what you'll do with the tomatoes you've been ripening on your kitchen counter? Try this easy pasta dish. Combined with the eggplant and fresh basil, summer just doesn't taste any better than this. 

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil; more for drizzling
  • 1 medium eggplant (1 lb.), cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 6 cups)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes; more to taste
  • 1-1/4 lb. tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (about 2-1/3 cups)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 3/4 lb. dried penne rigate
  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano Reggiano or ricotta salata

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.

Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until shimmering hot. Add the eggplant and a generous pinch of salt. Reduce the heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is tender and light golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium, return the pan to the stove, and add the remaining 2 Tbs. oil, the onion, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt. Cook until the onion is tender and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes and another pinch of salt, and cook until the tomatoes start to break down and form a sauce, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Return the eggplant to the pan, add the basil, and cook for 1 minute more to let the flavors meld. Taste the sauce and add salt if needed.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente. Reserve a small amount of the cooking water and drain the pasta. Put the pasta in a large bowl and toss with the eggplant mixture. If the pasta needs a little more moisture, add a splash of the pasta water. Taste and add salt if needed. Put the pasta on a platter or divide among shallow bowls and finish with a drizzle of oil. Sprinkle the Parmigiano or ricotta salata on top and serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with Grilled Garlic Bread on the side.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings ; Calories (kcal): 580; Fat (g): fat g 23; Fat Calories (kcal): 210; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 3.5; Protein (g): protein g 15; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 15; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 80; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 460; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 5; Fiber (g): fiber g 9;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This was a great recipe that comes together quickly. I used tomatoes and basil from my garden and eggplant and red onions that I had picked up from the market. I used 4 garlic cloves and a little extra hot pepper flakes. Definitely would make again.

Amazing simple recipe! Very tasty and quick. Highly recommend it.

With so many wonderful, fresh ingredients (including grilled zucchini as recommended by another reviewer), I thought this would be outstanding. It was bland. To anyone else who might try it, be sure to add more seasoning and/or herbs of your choice. I won't make this again...not worth the effort and pans to wash.

This was so-o delicious! I stayed with all the ingredients; however, I didn't measure exactly. Nevertheless, it was one of the most tasty pasta dishes I've ever made. The flavors blend perfectly. This definitely goes into my own Five Star collection of recipes. :-)

This was a nice fresh summer dinner. I like pastas that are heavy on the veggies so I added two grilled zucchini, and two extra tomatoes. Sprinkled all the veggies with some balsamic and red pepper flakes. This was great. Nice and hearty with great summer flavors.

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