Spaghetti with Eggplant, Piquillo Peppers, and Tomatoes

This pasta screams summertime. Tossed in a light salsa rossa made with fresh tomatoes, this garlicky spaghetti is full of buttery eggplant, piquillo peppers, and loads of basil. 


For the salsa rossa:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of hot red pepper flakes
  • 10 basil leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the spaghetti:

  • 2 medium eggplants, skins on, cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups diced fresh tomatoes
  • 10 canned piquillo peppers
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into strips
  • Pinch of hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Make the salsa rossa: Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and saute until tomatoes are soft. Stir in fresh basil, and add salt and pepper to taste. Puree or leave chunky.
  2. Make the spaghetti: Place the eggplant in a colander, sprinkle with salt, and let rest for one hour.
  3. Pat eggplant dry. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 cup oil on high. Add one layer of eggplant and cook until crispy on one side. Do not stir. Turn to crisp the other side. Eggplant will shrink and crisp. Repeat until all the eggplant is crispy.
  4. In a wide pot, heat 1/4 cup olive oil, add diced tomatoes and peppers, and cook on high, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Lower heat, add garlic, and cook for 2 more minutes. Add eggplant and salsa rossa, and cook, stirring gently. Add basil, red pepper flakes, oregano, and parsley.
  5. In a large pot, bring salted water to boil and cook spaghetti until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups cooking water. Add pasta to sauce and cook over high heat 2 to 3 minutes, adding a little pasta water if needed. Serve with grated Parmesan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *