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Playing How to Make Pasta with Eggplant and 'Nduja | Rachael Ray

This dish, a riff on pasta alla Norma, is a current family favorite in Rach's house. It's made with eggplant and 'nduja (basically a sausage paste from southern Italy), but you can substitute 2 tablespoons of Calabrian chili paste for a vegetarian version. Both will give the tomato sauce a smoky, spicy, delicious background flavor. 

Pro Tip from Rach: When buying eggplant, firm and heavy is the way to go.

For more recipes that use 'nduja, check out 'Nduja Scampi and Linguini and Fennel-Cabbage Soup with 'Nduja & White Beans.

Ingredients

  • 2 firm medium eggplant, trim half the skin and slice lengthwise into planks, then batons
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • 3 ounces 'nduja (imported Italian or domestic, such as La Fortuna or LaTempesta
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or thinly sliced
  • 1 jar passata (3 cups)
  • A few leaves of basil, torn

Yield

Serves: 4

Preparation

Bring a pot of water to boil for pasta. 

Arrange eggplant on kitchen towel, season with salt and let it drain well: top with another towel, roll and let stand 20 to 30 minutes to drain.

Rachael Ray 14-Inch Nonstick Frying Pan

Rachael Ray 14-Inch Nonstick Frying Pan

Rachael Ray
$64

Heat 2 tablespoons EVOO in large nonstick skillet, add the eggplant and brown and cook until tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove, add remaining oil and 'nduja and melt into the pan. Add onions and soften a couple of minutes, then add the cherry tomatoes, salt and garlic and cover to collapse tomatoes, 6 to 7 minutes, shaking skillet occasionally. Add passata and basil and drop pasta. Simmer sauce while pasta cooks.   

Salt water liberally and cook pasta a minute less than package directions; reserve ½ cup water.  

Add eggplant and pasta to sauce and combine. Adjust salt and add starchy cooking water, if necessary. 

Serve pasta topped with cheese of choice and chopped parsley.