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.