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"This is a really healthy pasta that isn't supposed to be a pasta," explains Rachael. "Caponata is an appetizer—a sweet and sour dish that's very classic to Italian culture and Italian cuisine." Made with eggplant, onions, celery, peppers and tomatoes, it's traditionally served cold with a little vinegar and sugar. Rach created this green version with zucchini because that veg is abundant in her garden. And her sister prefers it hot and with pasta and cheese, so that's how this recipe came about. "So," she laughs, "no longer a snack; it's a dinner, a really healthy dinner!"  

For more popular pasta recipes from Rach, check out her Rigatoni with 3 Pepper Sauce and Pumpkin Pasta


  • 1 medium firm eggplant, peeled and diced ½ inch
  • Salt
  • ¼ cup EVOO or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 rib celery with tops, chopped
  • 1 firm zucchini, halved and seeded, if needed, and diced
  • 1 Cubanelle pepper, chopped
  • 1 green chili pepper, finely chopped (Italian hot finger pepper or jalapeno)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or sliced
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 cup pitted green Cerignola olives
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup crisp Italian white wine
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • A handful of basil, torn
  • 1 pound short-cut pasta (Rach likes Sfoglini Cascatelli or riggies)
  • Grated pecorino cheese, to serve
  • Chopped parsley, to serve


Serves: 4 to 6


Heat pasta water to boil in large pot. 

Salt eggplant and let dry on towels a few minutes while you prep the rest of ingredients. 

Rachael Ray Hard Anodized Nonstick Frying Pan with Helper Handle

Rachael Ray Hard Anodized Nonstick Frying Pan with Helper Handle

Rachael Ray

Heat a large deep skillet over medium to medium-high heat with EVOO, 4 turns of the pan, add onions, celery, zucchini, Cubanelle and chili peppers and eggplant and soften 7 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, capers and olives. Sprinkle in sugar, douse pan with vinegar and add wine, then stir. Add stock and basil and simmer on low.   

Season pasta water with salt and undercook pasta 1 minute. Add 1 cup pasta water to sauce, transfer pasta to sauce and toss an additional minute with grated cheese and more EVOO, if you feel it's needed. Pass more cheese at table and top with parsley to serve.