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Pasta Norma

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  1. Salt
  2. 1/4 cup virgin olive oil
  3. 1 medium red onion, chopped into inch dice
  4. 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  5. 1 tablespoon hot chili flakes
  6. 2 medium eggplants, cut into inch dice
  7. One 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, squeezed by hand
  8. 2 sprigs basil
  9. 1 sprig thyme
  10. Freshly ground pepper
  11. 1 pound rigatoni
  12. 4 ounces ricotta salata, coarsely grated
  1. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons salt.
  2. 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.
  3. 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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