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Recipe

Main Dish






Pennette with eggplant

Biba Caggiano
Biba Restaurant, Sacramento


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Ingredients

1 medium eggplant, about 11/2 pounds
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 anchovy filets, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh flat leaf Italian parsley or regular parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound pennette rigate (You can also use penne, spaghetti or linguine)

Instructions

Prepare the eggplant and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

Prepare the sauce. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring, until the cubes have a bright golden color. Add the garlic, anchovies and parsley and stir quickly until garlic begins to color, less than 1 minute. Season with salt and generously with pepper and turn the heat off under the skillet.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta. Cook, uncovered, over high heat, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender but still a bit firm to the bite. Scoop up and reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Add ½ cup of the reserved pasta water and mix everything quickly over low heat until pasta and sauce are well combined. Stir in a bit more water if pasta looks too dry. Taste, adjust the seasoning and serve.

Serves 4 to 6.

"Al funghetto is a traditional Italian preparation that sautés eggplant, mushrooms or zucchini in olive oil, garlic, parsley. Vegetables cooked al funghetto are deliciously appetizing. They can be served as appetizers, side dishes or, as we finally have discovered, as a topping for pasta.

"As the diced eggplant is cooking, it will soak up the oil in the skillet. Resist the temptation of adding more oil, and keep cooking until they reach a nice golden brown."



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