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Orecchiette with Marinated Eggplant, Burrata and Chiles
© Anna Williams

Orecchiette with Marinated Eggplant, Burrata and Chiles

  • ACTIVE: 30 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 30 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 4
  • STAFF-FAVORITE
  • VEGETARIAN

At New York City's A Voce, Missy Robbins makes this elegant, decadent pasta dish with burrata, the creamy cow's-milk cheese from Italy. She says, "I absolutely love burrata, but this recipe also includes my trifecta of favorite ingredients: marjoram, lemon and chiles."

video Best New Chef 2010: Missy Robbins

  1. 4 large Asian eggplants (1 1/2 pounds total), halved lengthwise
  2. 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  3. Kosher salt
  4. 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  5. 2 large garlic cloves, very thinly shaved (preferably on a Microplane slicer)
  6. 3 marjoram sprigs, plus 1 tablespoon marjoram leaves
  7. 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  8. 3/4 pound orecchiette
  9. 2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino
  10. 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  11. 1/2 pound burrata cheese, halved, creamy filling scooped out (reserve the firmer exterior for another use)
  12. Coarsely grated zest of 1 lemon
  13. 2 oil-packed red chiles, seeded and cut into thin strips (see Note)
  1. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the cut sides of the halved eggplants with olive oil and season with salt. Grill the eggplants cut side down over moderate heat until lightly charred, about 4 minutes. Turn and continue grilling until just browned and cooked through, about 2 minutes longer. Let cool. Dice the eggplants and transfer to a bowl. Pour the vinegar over the eggplant and toss well.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the garlic, marjoram sprigs, crushed red pepper and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Bring the oil to a simmer, then pour it over the eggplant and toss. Let stand for 1 hour. Discard the marjoram sprigs.
  3. In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the orecchiette until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water.
  4. Add the eggplant to the pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring lightly, until hot, about 30 seconds. Add the orecchiette and the reserved cooking water and cook, tossing, for about 30 seconds. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the pecorino and parsley.
  5. Spoon the pasta into bowls. Dot the pasta with the creamy burrata filling. Garnish with the lemon zest, chile strips and marjoram leaves and serve.
Notes Robbins likes using the chile peppers in olive oil from BuonItalia (buonitalia.com). You can also use pickled cherry peppers.

Suggested Pairing

Rich, spicy dishes like this pasta will overwhelm reds that don't have equally robust flavors. A good place to find these kinds of reds is Italy's central Abruzzo region, which produces lush, berry-packed wines from the Montepulciano grape.

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