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Rach chops all the veggies "confetti-size" to help them cook faster for this pasta tossed with a caponata ragu.
"Well, size is everything, in this case!" Rach says. "By fine-dicing the elements of a favorite cold appetizer, caponata, we have a new family go-to, hot and hearty vegetable-based ragu to serve with pasta as a main course."
Arrange eggplant on kitchen towel, salt and cover with another towel and weight with a heavy pan to drain excess liquids, 20 to 30 minutes.
Put a pot with 5 to 6 quarts of water on to boil for pasta.
Chop and prep a confetti dice of celery, sweet and/or hot peppers, onion, garlic, olives, and capers, arranging your mise en place in piles on a large work surface or in ingredient bowls.
Heat a large deep skillet or wide pan over medium to medium-high heat with EVOO, 4 turns of the pan. Add the chopped vegetables and season with a little salt. Cover skillet and soften vegetables 7 to 8 minutes, stirring or shaking pan frequently. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and Calabrian chili paste and stir in a handful of small basil leaves and a handful of parsley.
Salt water and cook pasta a minute less than package directions to allow for carryover cooking. Reserve 1 cup cooking water and drain pasta, return to hot pot. Combine pasta with ⅔ of the vegetable sauce, half the cooking water, a fat drizzle of EVOO and about 1 cup of grated Parm. Toss with tongs for 1 full minute to emulsify and serve family- style or in shallow bowls topped with remaining sauce.