Italian Recipes For Dummies
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This rigatoni with eggplant recipe hails from Sicily. Traditionally, the eggplant is fried. This version sautés the eggplant with the other vegetables to make the dish lighter.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

1/4 cup olive oil

5 cloves garlic

1 medium onion

1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

Fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Fresh oregano, or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 cup white wine

1 large eggplant

14-ounce can plum tomatoes

1/2 to 1 cup water (depending on how much moisture is needed)

Fresh basil, or 1 tablespoon dried basil

Fresh parsley, or 2 teaspoons dried parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

1/2 pound rigatoni

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

  1. Peel and chop the garlic clovers.

  2. Chop the onion.

  3. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil, garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes and cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. Chop the fresh thyme and oregano.

    If you’re using dried herbs, just skip this step.

  5. Add 1 teaspoon fresh thyme and 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, then cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

  6. Add the wine and allow it to reduce slightly.

  7. Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes.

  8. Stir the eggplant into the saucepan and lower the heat to low-medium.

  9. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant becomes soft and its juices have evaporated, about 20 minutes.

  10. Add the tomatoes and water to the saucepan. Simmer for 15 minutes.

  11. Chop the fresh basil and fresh parsley.

    If you opt for dried herbs, you don’t need to chop them.

  12. Add 1/4 cup fresh basil and 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, and season with salt and pepper.

  13. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

  14. While the sauce simmers, bring 4 quarts water to a boil.

  15. Add the kosher salt and rigatoni, mix well, and cook until al dente.

  16. Drain the pasta.

  17. Add the pasta and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to the pan with the sauce. Mix well.

  18. Serve immediately.

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