Pasta Arrabbiata with Eggplant
- 1 pound penne rigate
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 -3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (eyeball it)
- 1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped
- One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- Flat leaf parsley, finely chopped (a generous handful)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 20 basil leaves, shredded
- 1 cup arugula leaves, chopped
- Grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese, to pass around the table
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a ladle of the water.
While the pasta is working, in a large, deep skillet, heat the EVOO, 4 turns of the pan, the garlic and the crushed red pepper over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant, season with salt and cook until tender, 12-15 minutes. Using a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon, break up the eggplant into a coarse, thick sauce. Stir in the tomatoes and heat through, then stir in the parsley and simmer for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir in the reserved pasta cooking water, add the pasta and toss.
To serve, divide the pasta among 4 shallow plates or bowls. Place 1/4 cup ricotta cheese alongside each serving (to mix into each bite of the pasta as you eat it). Sprinkle with the basil and arugula. Pass Parmigiano Reggiano around the table.