Smokey, gooey cheese sautéed with tender eggplant and garlic and basil laced diced tomato sauce for a hearty vegetarian pasta dish that everyone will love.
Keyword affumicati, eggplant pasta, roasted eggplant, smoked cheese pasta
Prep Time 30minutes
Cook Time 25minutes
Overnight Press & Marinate 8hours
Total Time 8hours55minutes
2mediumeggplantspeeled, ½" cubes
Smoky Eggplant Pasta
3mediumtomatoesabout 2 cups diced
4clovesgarlicvery thinly sliced
8ouncessmoked mozzarella or gouda
parmesan cheesefor garnish
Prep the eggplant. Peel the eggplants and dice in ½ inch cubes. Spread the eggplant over a sheet tray lined with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Very generously salt the eggplant and cover with another clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Cover with another sheet tray and place in the fridge with heavy items on top of it overnight or to 48 hours.
Prep the sauce. In a large bowl or container, combine the diced tomatoes, olive oil, white wine, salt, pepper, garlic, and basil. Cover and let it sit at least an hour or overnight for the best flavor.
Cook the pasta. Set a large pot of water to boil. Season generously with salt. Cook the pasta according to the package directions or until al dente. Reserve ½ cup pasta water before draining.
Sauté the eggplant. In a large skillet, heat ⅓ cup olive oil over medium high heat until it shimmers. Add the eggplant and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until browned, stirring every 2 minutes or so.
Make the sauce. Add the fresh diced tomato sauce to the pan and let it simmer for about 2 minutes to cook off the alcohol in the wine. Stir in the cooked pasta, smoked cheese, and ¼ to ½ cup of the reserved pasta water depending on how much liquid you would like your sauce to have. Sauté all the ingredients together, remove from heat, and serve immediately.
If you don't have time to press the eggplant or marinate the tomatoes overnight, let them sit for an hour before cooking to pull some of the moisture and develop flavor.
The eggplant can also be roasted in the oven at 375°F for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Slice the garlic as thin as possible - or use chopped garlic if having the knife so close to your fingers makes you nervous! The sauce cooks very quickly so any thick pieces of garlic will not have time to cook through completely.
You can absolutely cook the eggplant in advance and just through everything together when ready.