- 1/4 cup salted capers
- 12 ounces spaghettini
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, 2 thinly sliced
- Large pinch of crushed red pepper
- 1 cup 1/3-inch diced crustless Italian bread
- 1/4 cup freshly grated young pecorino, preferably Sardinian, plus more for serving
- In a large cup, soak the salted capers in plenty of cold water for 15 minutes. Drain the capers and squeeze dry.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghettini until just al dente. Drain the pasta well, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water.
- In a large, deep nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the oil until shimmering. Add the eggplant, season lightly with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 6 minutes. Add the sliced garlic and crushed red pepper and cook until the garlic is softened, about 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 cup of oil until shimmering. Add the capers and fry over high heat, shaking the pan slightly, until the capers are golden and puffed, 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the capers to a paper towel–lined plate. Add the whole garlic clove and the diced bread to the oil and fry, stirring, until golden, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the croutons to the plate. Discard the garlic clove.
- Add the pasta to the eggplant. Add the pecorino and the reserved cooking water and simmer, tossing, just until the water is nearly absorbed, about 2 minutes. Serve the pasta in shallow bowls, sprinkled with the fried capers and croutons. Pass freshly grated pecorino at the table.
Rich, spicy Sicilian red.