- 1/4 cup virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped into inch dice
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon hot chili flakes
- 2 medium eggplants, cut into inch dice
- One 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, squeezed by hand
- 2 sprigs basil
- 1 sprig thyme
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound rigatoni
- 4 ounces ricotta salata, coarsely grated
- Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.
- In a 12-inch to 14-inch sauté pan, heat olive oil until smoking. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft but not browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Add chili flakes and eggplant and cook, stirring regularly until softened and lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil and thyme and bring to a boil. Simmer 15 minutes and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Boil pasta until al dente. Drain well and pour hot pasta into pan with eggplant mixture. Toss to coat and serve immediately, spooning ricotta salata over each portion.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.