Quick & Easy Meals: PASTA ALLA SICILIANA / by Anthony Michael Contrino

This hearty pasta dish is both delicious and easy to prepare.  If you'd like to mix it up, add some crispy pancetta or bacon or substitute the mozzarella with shaved ricotta salt.  This recipe uses 3 small eggplants.  The smaller the eggplant, the less seeds.

Pasta alla Siciliana

Serves 4

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 red onion, julienned

4 cloves garlic, sliced

3 small eggplants (1-1/2 pounds,) some skin removed and diced into 1/2" squares

1 28-ounce can peeled tomatoes, hand-crushed

1/4 cup water

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound rigatoni

8 ounces fresh pearl mozzarella

Pecorino, freshly grated

Parsley, for garnish


Bring a stockpot, filled with salted water, to a rolling boil.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and sauté until they begin to soften.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggplant and season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring often, until the eggplant is almost fully softened, 6 to 8 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, water and red pepper flakes.  Simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.

While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta, until al dente.  When cooked, drain the pasta and return it to the stockpot.  Add 2/3 of the sauce and stir to combine.  Serve the pasta in bowls.  Top the pasta with additional sauce, a sprinkle of mozzarella, pecorino and parsley.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Serve immediately.