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Cooking

Eggplant with pasta recipes

Three delicious end-of-summer suppers.

Photograph by Jim Scherer / Styling by Catrine Kelty

Fresh tomatoes and smoked mozzarella flavor this hearty dish of orecchiette and grilled eggplant.

PASTA WITH GRILLED EGGPLANT, FRESH TOMATOES, AND SMOKED MOZZARELLA

Serves 4

Salt and black pepper

2 pounds eggplant, trimmed, peeled if desired, and cut into ¾-inch rounds

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing

1½ pounds tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

8 ounces smoked fresh mozzarella, diced

1 pound shell or similar pasta

6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Lightly salt eggplant rounds and drain 1 hour, then rinse and blot dry.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to 400 degrees. Lightly brush eggplant slices with oil and grill until well-browned, about 10 minutes total, turning once. Cool, cut into bite-size pieces, and set aside.

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Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix tomatoes, garlic, 1¼ teaspoons salt, pepper to taste, the ½ cup oil, and mozzarella, and set aside. Boil pasta with 1 teaspoon salt until al dente. Drain pasta and immediately dump into bowl with tomato mixture and toss. Toss in the eggplant and basil, taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and serve warm or at room temperature.

PASTA ALLA NORMA

Serves 4

Salt and black pepper

2 pounds eggplant, trimmed, peeled if desired, and cut into 1-inch cubes

2½ to 3½ tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 anchovy fillets, minced

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 pound shell or similar pasta

6 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 cup finely crumbled ricotta salata, plus extra to pass at the table

Lightly salt eggplant cubes and drain 1 hour, then rinse and blot dry.

In a very large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil until it ripples. Add a single layer of eggplant and cook, without moving, until well browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Stir, then cook 2 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, and transfer to a large bowl. Repeat, cooking the rest of the eggplant in 1 or 2 more batches, using 1 tablespoon oil per batch.

Adjust the heat under skillet to medium, add remaining ½ tablespoon oil, and allow to heat for a moment. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon salt and saute for 4 minutes. Add the anchovies, red pepper flakes, and garlic, and saute 1½ minutes more. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a strong simmer. Adjust the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in the eggplant, cover, and cook to warm through, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil pasta with 1 teaspoon salt until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and set aside, then drain pasta and return it to the pot. Add sauce and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. If necessary, add cooking water to help the sauce distribute evenly. Stir in the basil and ricotta salata, and black pepper to taste, and serve, passing extra ricotta salata at the table. 

PASTA WITH LAMB, EGGPLANT, AND MIDDLE EAST SPICES

Serves 6

Salt and black pepper

2 pounds eggplant, trimmed, peeled if desired, and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 teaspoons turmeric

2 teaspoons coriander

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon grated zest and 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon

3 cloves garlic, minced

2½ to 3½ tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

½ pound ground lamb

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes

¾ cup plain Greek yogurt

1 pound shell or similar pasta

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

½ cup chopped fresh mint

Lightly salt eggplant cubes and drain 1 hour, then rinse and blot dry.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the dry spices, lemon zest, and garlic, and set aside.

Cook eggplant cubes as in Pasta Alla Norma recipe.

Adjust the heat under skillet to medium, add remaining ½ tablespoon oil, and allow to heat for a moment. Add the onion, carrots, and 1½ teaspoons salt, and saute for 4 minutes. Add the lamb and cook until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Add the spice mixture and cook another 1½ minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, yogurt, and lemon juice, and bring to a strong simmer. Adjust heat to medium-low and cook, scraping bottom of skillet occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in the eggplant, cover, and cook to warm through, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil pasta with 1 teaspoon salt until al dente, reserve ½ cup of pasta cooking water (use if needed), and add sauce as in Pasta Alla Norma. Toss in the cilantro and mint and add black pepper to taste. Serve at once.

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