End of Summer Penne alla Norma
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pound penne rigate pasta
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 eggplant, peeled and chopped into 3/4-inch cubes
- 2 pints grape or heirloom cherry tomatoes
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn or shredded
- Whole Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, to shave at the table
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a ladleful of pasta cooking water.
While the pasta is working, in a deep skillet, heat the EVOO, 4 turns of the pan, over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the eggplant and tomatoes and stir to coat with the oil; season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan tightly and cook, stirring halfway through, until the tomatoes burst and the eggplant is tender, about 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta and mint.
Add the pasta, reserved cooking water and the basil to the tomato-eggplant sauce and toss for 2 minutes. Serve the pasta in bowls and top with the ricotta mixture and lots of shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.