Eggplant Capponata with Pasta
Posted on March 29, 2001
While this Sicilian specialty is prepared like a standard tomato pasta sauce, its flavors are best enjoyed when served slightly warm but not hot. This makes it ideal to prepare ahead of time as an accompaniment to your evening meal. Besides serving it with freshly cooked pasta, it also works well alongside any fish or chicken dish or as a topping for lightly toasted baguette slices.
Est. preparation time: 20 mins
Est. cooking time: 40 mins
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons basil, chopped
2 teaspoons capers, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 eggplant, large, peeled and diced
3 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. orecchiette pasta
4 pancetta, thin slices, diced
4 plum tomato, diced
1/4 tablespoon red chili pepper flakes, or to taste
1 red onion, small, chopped
1/4 tablespoon rosemary, chopped, or to taste
2 tablespoons scallions, chopped
1/2 cup water
Place a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. Sprinkle the eggplant with three-fourths of the Kosher salt. Place a large nonstick pan over medium heat and when it is hot, add the eggplant. Cook until the eggplant is golden brown on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the eggplant from the pan, drain on paper towels, and set aside.
Begin cooking the pasta; cook al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain and reserve warm. Meanwhile, reheat the saute pan. Add the oil and pancetta; cook over medium-high heat until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Add in the onion and and cook 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.
Add the cooked eggplant, capers, tomatoes, wine, water, pepper flakes, and the remaining salt, stirring well after each addition. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the eggplant is very soft and the caponata has a thick consistency, about 15 minutes.
After cooking, finish the caponata with vinegar, basil, parsley, rosemary, and scallions. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving over the cooked pasta.