Recipe Courtesy of Michele Di Bari of Sale Pepe, Lahaina, Maui HI
Photography by Mykle Coyne
1½ pounds eggplant
Olive oil as needed (at least ½ cup)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon onion, chopped
1½ pounds of San Marzano canned peeled tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
¼ teaspoon basil
1 pound of Bu’ono rigatoni
¼ teaspoon parsley, chopped
½ cup grated Ricotta Salata or Pecorino Romano
1. Slice the eggplant about ½ inch thick. Cook in abundant olive oil, without crowding, sprinkling with salt and adding more oil as needed. You will undoubtedly have to cook in batches; take your time and cook until the eggplant is nicely browned and soft. Remove to a plate. Meanwhile, put a large pot of water on to boil and salt it.
2. After cooking the eggplant, the pan will ideally have a couple of tablespoons of oil left. If there is more or less, drain some off or add a bit. Turn the heat to medium. Add the garlic and onions and cook until the garlic and onion color a little bit. Add the tomatoes, oregano, and basil along with some salt and pepper; cook until saucy but not too dry, stirring occasionally.
3. Cook the pasta until al dente, about 1 minute and half, While the pasta is cooking, cut the eggplant into strips and reheat for a minute in the tomato sauce. Drain the pasta and toss it with the tomato sauce and the eggplant. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then top with the parsley or basil and grated cheese and serve.