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Export date: Wed Jul 28 9:21:45 2021 / +0000 GMT



Pasta with Eggplant, Tomato Sauce, and Baked Ricotta

 

 

Pasta with Eggplant, Tomato Sauce, and Baked Ricotta

Pasta is tossed with basil-laced tomato
sauce then topped with a heaping portion of fried
eggplant morsels.

  • salt
  • about 2 cups olive oil, (for frying)
  • 1 large eggplant, (unpeeled and cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 1 pound dried short pasta, (such as paccheri)
  • 3 cups tomato sauce
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, (roughly torn in pieces)
  • Ricotta salata or Baked Ricotta, (for serving)

Baked Ricotta:

  • 1/2 pound ricotta

Pasta:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over
    high heat.

  2. Meanwhile, heat about 3 inches of the oil in a
    heavy-bottomed pan over high heat. Add the eggplant
    in batches and fry, turning occasionally, until golden
    brown, 5 to 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer
    the eggplant to paper towels to drain the excess oil.
    Sprinkle the fried eggplant with salt to taste.

  3. Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook
    until not quite al dente.

  4. Meanwhile, heat the sauce in a pot over low heat.
    Before the pasta is al dente, drain it (reserving
    some of the cooking water) and add it to the sauce,
    continuously moving the pan back and forth over the
    stove top so the pasta does not stick to the bottom of
    the pan. If the pasta is not yet cooked but the sauce
    is very thick, add some pasta cooking water. Season
    with salt to taste. Add the basil leaves and some of the
    fried eggplant to the sauce.

  5. Place the pasta, coated with the tomato sauce, on a
    platter or on individual serving plates. Top with the
    remainder of the fried eggplant, then shaved ricotta
    salata or baked ricotta.

Baked Ricotta:

  1. Wrap the ricotta with cheesecloth and place it
    in a strainer set over a bowl. Refrigerate the ricotta
    overnight to drain.

  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

  3. Remove the ricotta from the cheesecloth and form
    it into a ball, then press it into a disc. Place the disc
    on a piece of aluminum foil and bring the edges up to
    wrap completely.

  4. Bake the ricotta disc for about 30 minutes, until it
    turns golden on top. Remove the foil from the top of
    the ricotta. Bake until the ricotta is browned on the
    top, 10 minutes more. Let cool to room temperature
    before storing in the refrigerator, where it will keep
    for up to 5 days.

Excerpted from Sicily: The Cookbook, Recipes Rooted in Traditions © 2017 By Melissa Muller. Published By Rizzoli.