Pasta con Pesto Siciliano
- 1 medium eggplant
- Olive oil, for sauteing
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup almonds, lightly toasted and chopped
- 1 pound Pasta, recipe follows
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- 1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs
- Grated cacciocavallo, optional
Thinly slice the eggplant and sprinkle slices with salt. Let stand for about 30 minutes and then dry eggplant on clean kitchen or paper towels.
Heat about 1-inch of oil in a large saute pan to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of a food processor, chop the garlic and basil, slowly adding 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil to incorporate well. Stir in the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes, and almonds and set aside.
When oil is hot, fry eggplant slices, in batches, in hot oil until light golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente; drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
Toss the pasta with the pesto, adding as much cooking liquid as necessary. Add fried eggplant slices and toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs and grated cacciocavallo, if desired. Serve.Pasta:
3 cups flour "00" or fine ground semolina
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
Place the flour on the counter or in a large bowl. Stir in the salt and make a well. Beat the 3 eggs in the center of the well, and slowly incorporate all the flour. Knead until smooth and then let rest for about 30 minutes. Roll out dough to about 1/4-inch thick and then cut into desired shape.
Recipe courtesy Chef Sal Passalacqua, Dimaio Cucina