Penne with Eggplant Sauce
- Kosher salt
- 12 ounces penne (or other short pasta)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 small Japanese eggplants (about 1 pound), cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- Freshly ground pepper
- 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 28 -ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup torn fresh basil
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the eggplant, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and tender, about 4 minutes; transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon. Repeat with the remaining eggplant, adding another 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the garlic to the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the garlic is just golden, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Photograph by Justin Walker