Caponata is a fantastic eggplant-based relish that's extremely versatile and delicious as an accompaniment to just about everything. Here, it's prepared with a touch of pasta water to make a fabulous sauce for this farfalle.
Slideshow: Fast Weekday Pastas
1 pound eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 celery stalks, peeled and sliced on a diagonal into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch thin pieces
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup capers in salt
One 28-ounce can peeled San Marzano tomatoes—cut into 1-inch pieces, sauce reserved
1/4 teaspoon granulated cane sugar
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 pound farfalle pasta
How to Make It
Peel the eggplant and cut into 1-inch pieces. Heat a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with half of the extra virgin olive oil; add half of the eggplant and season with 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt. Fry the eggplant cubes in two batches until golden brown, adding the second addition of olive oil and salt with the second batch. Remove from the oil and set aside.
Using the same pan, add the celery, red onion, garlic, and capers and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium to low heat until vegetables have softened and look glossy, about 10 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and sugar to the pan and stir to combine. Fold in the cooked eggplant and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring every 4 minutes. Add the vinegar to the mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring once or twice until al dente, about 7-8 minutes. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of pasta cooking liquid.
Heat the caponata in a large skillet over medium heat and add the pasta water to the pan. Bring to a gentle simmer and toss in the pasta, stir until incorporated and heated through. Season with salt and pepper, and garnish with basil; drizzle lightly with olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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