Ziti with Roasted Eggplant and Ricotta Cheese
Ziti Alla Norma


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Ziti with Roasted Eggplant and Ricotta Cheese
Ziti Alla Norma
cookbook: Lidia's Favorite Recipes
main ingredients: eggplant
recipe
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serves: 6 servings

Ingredients

2 large firm eggplants, (each about 3-inches in diameter and 1 1/4 pounds)
2 tablespoons Coarse sea salt, plus more salt for cooking the pasta and sauce
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
35 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, (preferably San Marzano) with their liquid
1 pound ziti
1 cup Grana Padano, freshly grated
1 cup basil leaves, washed, dried, and shredded
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
½ pound whole milk ricotta

Directions

Trim the stems from the eggplant. Remove strips of peel about 1 inch wide from the eggplant, leaving about half the peel intact. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes, and toss in a large bowl with the 2 tablespoons salt. Dump into a colander and let drain for 1 hour. Rinse the eggplant under cool running water, drain thoroughly, and pat dry.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush a baking sheet with half the olive oil. Turn the eggplant cubes onto the baking sheet, toss to coat with oil, and spread them out in an even layer. Bake until the eggplant is very tender and browned, about 25 minutes. Turn and stir the eggplant cubes gently once or twice so they cook evenly.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat for the ziti.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Scatter the garlic over the oil, and cook, shaking the pan, until golden, about 3 minutes. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, add the pepper flakes, and season lightly with salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir the ziti into the boiling water. Return to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook the pasta, semi-covered, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes.

Drain the pasta, and return it to the empty pot over low heat. Pour in about half of the sauce, tossing lightly to coat the pasta with sauce. Remove the pot from the heat, stir in ½ cup of the grated cheese and the basil. Toss in half of the roasted eggplant cubes

and toss, then add the ricotta by heaping teaspoonfuls,stirring it gently into the pasta; you want the ricotta to warm, but you do not want it to blend with the sauce completely.

Plate the pasta, and spoon the reserved sauce over each serving. Now add equal amounts of the remaining baked eggplant to the top of all the pasta plates. Sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese,and serve.

Lidia's Favorite Recipes

From one of the most popular cookbook author/chefs at work today: her most accessible—and affordable—cookbook to date, a gathering of the recipes that have become her go-to meals: the best, the most beloved, the most delicious dishes in her repertoire. Lidia Bastianich gives us a fresh look at her favorite dishes, the ones that have made it to the table time and time again: more than 100 of her signature recipes, revised to be more concise and clear, but just as soul-satisfying as ever. From Baked Clams Oreganata, Marinated Winter Squash, and Spaghetti with Quick Garlic Tomato Sauce to Braised Beef Rolls, Shrimp Scampi, and Chocolate Bread Parfait, each recipe includes new information about the affordability, seasonality, and nutritional value of the ingredients. Beautifully illustrated throughout with full-color photographs, Lidia's Favorite Recipes will give both new cooks and longtime fans something delicious to celebrate.

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