Pasta Arrabbiata with Eggplant


  • Salt
  • 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.

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