I’m no Steven Seagal (or is that Carl Sagan?), but I often ponder the universe. There are roughly 2 trillion galaxies in the universe, and 100 million stars in each galaxy. This means that there are roughly 1024 stars out there. Yes, there are more Suns than there are grains of sand on all of earth. Wow!
Of course, my deep thoughts are directly connected to my deep thoughts about pasta. For example, when someone asks me how many pasta recipes exist, I simply say, “Imagine the number of shapes times the number of ingredient toppings, and then all of the combinations. Infinity.”
And so when the mamma of my friend Alessandro Pasquale from Padua sent me this recipe, I was again reminded of just how many combinations there are. Wow! As to whether there is life on other planets, well, of course there is. The real question, however, is whether there is extra-terrestrial pasta out there. I assume that the answer is yes, but I can guarantee that it isn’t as good as what you find in Italy.
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Sunday Pasta®: Rigatoni con Melanzane e Pomodori Arrositi (Eggplant and Roasted Tomatoes)
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4-6 1x
- 1 pound rigatoni
- 2 small eggplants
- 1 pound fresh, ripe tomatoes
- 6–8 basil leaves, coarsely torn
- 1 clove garlic, finely sliced
- olive oil, for frying
- 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese (or grated ricotta salata)
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 400 F
- Rinse the eggplant and tomatoes under cold water.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When the water boils, blanch the tomatoes. Peel, and remove core and seeds. Cut into large bite size pieces.
- Place the tomatoes and garlic on a foil covered baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 20 mins.
- Cut the eggplant lengthwise to into 1/4″ thick slices.
- In a large skillet, over high heat, fry the eggplant in about 1/4 cup of olive oil until golden. Add oil for each batch. Remove to paper towel to drain.
- Place the eggplant and tomato in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente.
- Drain, and mix into the bowl with the tomatoes and eggplant. Mix in the ricotta. Add the basil.
- Serve immediately with a sprinkle of Parmigiano.