What you need:

6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

3/4 lb  aubergine’s trimmed, split in half  lengthwise, and cut into 3/8th-inch half moons

Kosher salt

3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

1 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 1/2  tins of chopped tomatoes,

1 lb  dry ridged, tubular pasta such as rigatoni or penne rigate

Handful fresh small basil leaves, or roughly torn large leaves

2 oz aged ricotta salata, finely grated

What you do:

Heat 2 tbsp  olive oil in a large frying pan or  skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add as much aubergine as fits in a single layer and season with salt. Cook, shaking pan occasionally, until aubergine is well browned on both sides, around 10 minutes. Transfer aubergine to a plate and set aside. Repeat with remaining aubergine, adding olive oil as necessary, until all aubergine is browned.

Add any remaining olive oil and increase heat to medium-high. Heat until olive oil is shimmering. Add garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes, and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant but garlic is not browned, about 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly until evenly incorporated and tomato paste starts to fry. Add chopped tomatoes and their juice. Bring to a boil, reduce to a bare simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is thickened into a sauce-like consistency, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook penne according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.

Add sauce to pasta and toss to coat, adding reserved pasta water as necessary to thin sauce to desired consistency. Add aubergine slices and toss to mix together.

Serve pasta immediately, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, garnished with grated ricotta salata and torn basil leaves.




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