Caponata Spaghetti with Ricotta Salata
Top this traditional Italian vegetable mix over pasta with cheese.
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 eggplant, chopped into small pieces (peel off half the skin in strips)
- 1 red onion, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 1 cubanelle pepper, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced
- 2 ribs celery with leafy tops, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- One can tomato sauce (15 ounces)
- 1/2 cup Sicilian olives stuffed with pimento, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 8 ounces ricotta salata cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, shredded
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the spaghetti and cook to al dente. Drain, reserving a ladleful of the pasta cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot.
While the pasta is working, in a large, deep skillet, heat the EVOO, four turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant, onion, cubanelle pepper, celery, garlic and crushed red pepper; season with salt and black pepper and stir well. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce, olives and parsley and simmer over low heat until the pasta is ready.
Add the sauce to the pasta and toss, adding the reserved pasta cooking water as necessary to make a nice consistency. Toss well. Serve in shallow bowls and top with the ricotta salata and basil.