When eggplants and tomatoes are bursting in the garden (or a friend's garden or the farmers market) let this dish help you use them both. Eggplants and tomatoes are soul sisters or brothers and bring rigatoni or penne pasta to life. Simple, satisfying and savory, this recipe will be in constant rotation in your summer repertoire.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Using a vegetable peeler, peel some of the skin off the eggplant in stripes, so only half of the eggplant skin remains.
Cut eggplant into 1-inch dice, place in a big bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Mix well to combine and then place on baking sheet in the oven for about 20 minutes or until browned and very tender.
Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil. Add your choice of pasta and cook, stirring frequently, according to the package.
When the pasta is almost cooked, remove 1 cup of pasta water from the pot and set aside, as you will use this to thin out the tomato sauce.
When the pasta is al dente, drain into a colander.
Meanwhile, warm a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss in the garlic and crushed red pepper and stir a bit.
Add the chopped tomatoes and the juice, sprinkle with salt and cook until the tomatoes express their juice and the sauce thickens up a bit, about 15-20 minutes.
When the roasted eggplant is cooked, add it to the sauce, along with 1/2 cup of pasta water, and let it meld for 5 minutes. If the sauce tightens up and still needs thinning, add more pasta water and stir to combine.
Once the pasta has drained, add the pasta back into the pot and pour the tomato and eggplant sauce over the pasta.
Add the chopped basil and parsley and stir to combine. Add the grated ricotta salata, toss well and serve.
Once plated, sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes, grated Parmesan cheese and a bit more chopped basil for garnish.
Refrigerate any leftovers for up to 5 days.