Eggplant Pasta

This is my favorite eggplant pasta and soon to be yours too!  When Joe and I went to Sicily, it was eggplant season.  We ate eggplant at least twice a day every day.  This is a version of a delicious pasta dish we ate in the mountains of Sicily.

Why this is my favorite eggplant pasta

I love the deep roasted flavor of the eggplant in the quickly cooked spicy tomato sauce.  But what really puts this eggplant pasta over the top is the saltiness of the crumbled ricotta salata cheese tossed on the finished dish just before serving!  It is worth seeking out this cheese.  It really makes the dish.

Joe and I were able to find ricotta salata cheese locally for many years.  One day, I decided to make this pasta and went to the store to buy some ricotta salata cheese.  None of the stores in our area carried it anymore!  We couldn’t understand it.  So Joe found some online and had it shipped to us.  Now we are stocked up and the freezer is full of this cheese.  Ricotta salata cheese freezes well as it is crumbly and doesn’t melt anyway.  Of course, after this incident, our local stores began selling the cheese again!

Different ways to use and prepare Eggplant

Every Italian or Sicilian loves eggplant.  It can be used in pastas, made into caponata (sweet and sour eggplant salad), grilled, fried and even made into a dessert! 

In this recipe, I roast the eggplant in the oven.  I find it easier when you have lots of eggplant to cook it in the oven, instead of frying it.  You can roast it on one large baking tray, turning it from time to time.  If you fry it, you have to do it in batches and stand next to the stove the whole time.  Plus, the grease splatters everywhere and it can get messy.  Since I roast the eggplant in the oven, I can start the sauce while the eggplant cooks.  Saving time, energy and a big mess!


My Favorite Eggplant Pasta

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Recipe by Margaret Sanfelippo Course: Main DishCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy


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This pasta features lots of roasted eggplant in a quickly cooked spicy tomato sauce. It is finished with fresh basil and salty ricotta salata cheese.


  • 1 1 medium eggplant, diced into 1 1/2″ chunks

  • 1 1/4 cup 1 1/4 olive oil

  • 1/2 tbsp 1/2 garlic salt

  • 1 tbsp 1 olive oil

  • 1/2 1/2 large sweet onion, diced

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 garlic salt

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 red pepper flakes

  • 26.5 oz 26.5 box Pomi diced tomatoes

  • 1 tsp 1 salt

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 dried Sicilian oregano

  • 2 tbsp 2 fresh basil, chopped

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 pecorino romano cheese, grated

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 ricotta salata cheese, crumbled

  • 1 lb 1 penne pasta

  • 1 tbsp 1 salt (for the pasta water)


  • Preheat your oven to 450F.
  • Toss the eggplant pieces with 1 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/2 tbsp garlic salt on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  • Place in the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, until browned.  Tossing half way through.
  • Keep warm while you make the sauce and pasta.
  • Pour 6 quarts of water, with 1 tbsp salt, into a big pot, and bring to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large skillet with 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the red pepper flakes into the oil.  Add the chopped onion.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tsp garlic salt.
  • After about 5 minutes the onion should be translucent in color.  Add the box of diced tomatoes.
  • Slosh 1/4 cup water in the tomato box to rinse it clean, and stir that in along with a 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp Sicilian oregano.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat and cook the sauce at a bubbling simmer for 12 minutes or so, until slightly thickened.
  • Once the pasta water comes to a rolling boil, stir in the pasta.
  • About half way through the pasta’s cooking, add the roasted eggplant to the sauce using a slotted spoon to avoid adding too much oil.
  • Once the pasta is almost al dente, add it to the sauce.  Toss to coat.
  • Turn off the heat.  Add the basil and pecorino romano cheese and toss again.
  • Put into a big bowl, sprinkle with the ricotta salata cheese and serve.

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