This comes from Mark Bittman in NYTimes Cooking and it is a very hearty and satisfying pasta that doesn’t take very long to make. We dialed back the spice (which came in the form of dried chilis in the original recipe) opting instead for some red pepper flakes and we added black olives, but the heart and soul of this pasta is the eggplant. We used ziti but spaghetti or linguine could work just as well.
Start a pot of salted water on to boil to cook the pasta. Once it is boiling cook the pasta according to the package instructions – generally around 8 mins to al dente.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add olive oil over medium heat. Make sure there’s enough oil in the bottom of the skillet to give you about 1/8″ coverage all around. Once the oil is heated, add the sliced eggplant (be careful it may spit hot oil). Fry the eggplant slices (turning once) so that both sides are brown and they are softened – about 3-5 mins. Remove from pan and place onto a place (don’t use paper towels to drain it). Cook the rest of the eggplant slices the same way in batches if you need to – adding oil to the skillet whenever it dries out.
In the same skillet, which should still have a couple Tablespoons of oil left in it, if not, add more – add the chopped garlic over medium heat and toss well to coat and just beginning to be fragrant – about 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, olives, red pepper flakes and oregano and stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook down until the tomatoes are breaking down and the sauce it thickening – about 8-10 mins.
Meanwhile, cut the cooked eggplant into 1/2″ strips once they are cool enough to touch.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and then add it to the tomato sauce along with the browned eggplant strips. Stir everything together over medium-low heat to combine and warm throughout.
Serve in a large bowl with grated parmesan and crusty bread. Enjoy.