Linguine with Ratatouille Sauce
- SERVINGS: 4
The vegetables that make up traditional Provençal ratatouille—eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and bell peppers—all go particularly well with basil. We've turned them into a pasta sauce that can also be served on polenta or on a hero with sausages.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, cut into thin slices
- 1 green or red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 small eggplant (about 1/2 pound), cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 zucchini (about 1/2 pound), cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 2/3 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (one 15-ounce can)
- 2 teaspoons wine vinegar
- 3/4 pound linguine
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons thin-sliced basil leaves
- In a large frying pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the eggplant, zucchini, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Reduce the heat to moderately low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the tomatoes and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar.
- In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the linguine until just done, about 12 minutes. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta-cooking water. Drain the pasta and toss with the vegetables, the 1/2 cup basil, and, if the pasta seems too dry, some of the reserved pasta-cooking water. Serve topped with the 2 tablespoons basil.
The combined acidity of tomatoes and vinegar calls for a crisp, high-acid wineone with enough earthiness to complement the vegetables. An unoaked Chardonnay from northeastern Italy fills the bill.