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Playing How To Make Pasta With Confetti Caponata Ragu | Rachael Ray

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."

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant, trim half the skin, then chop into ¼-inch dice (about 5 cups) 
  • Salt
  • 2 to 3 ribs celery with leafy tops, chopped ¼ inch dice
  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped sweet and/or hot peppers, red and green combined 
  • 1 large onion (or 2 small onions), chopped 
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic, chopped 
  • 1 cup combined black and green olives, pitted and chopped 
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons drained capers in brine   
  • About ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for drizzling
  • 2 pints small cherry tomatoes (4 to 5 cups), halved or, if large, quartered  
  • About 2 tablespoons sundried tomato paste or tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Calabrian chili paste, optional
  • 1 small handful fresh basil leaves, torn 
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped 
  • 1 pound long fusilli, short fusilli or orecchiette  
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Yield

Serves: 4

Preparation

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.