Fresh Basil Pasta with Eggplant and Tomato

2016-06-02
  • Yield : 6 servings
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Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 cup fine semolina flour
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated pecorino romano cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled Italian tomatoes, crushed with your hands
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, plus 1/2 cup torn leaves
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Grated pecorino Romano cheese, for topping

Method

Step 1

Make the pasta: Whisk both flours, the basil, both cheeses and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Whisk the milk, eggs and olive oil in a separate bowl, then pour into the flour mixture and stir with a fork until the dough comes together. Knead the dough on a floured surface with floured hands until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes, adding more flour as needed so the dough is soft but not sticky. Wrap in plastic wrap; let rest at room temperature for 2 hours.

Step 2

Cut the dough into quarters. Working with one piece at a time (keep the rest wrapped in plastic), roll the dough through a pasta machine on the thickest setting. Continue rolling the dough through progressively thinner settings, dusting with flour as needed, until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Using a knife, cut the sheet of dough into 4-by-1/4-inch noodles. Dust the noodles with more flour, then scatter on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cover the pasta with a kitchen towel and set aside until ready to cook or refrigerate up to 4 hours. 

Step 3

Make the sauce: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Toss the eggplant, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl. Spread on a baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice, until tender and browned, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside. 

Step 4

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil with the garlic and red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the garlic is tender and golden, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, then add 1 cup water to the empty can and add to the saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the chopped basil and season with salt and pepper. 

Step 5

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until it floats to the top and is tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water; drain the pasta and return to the pot. Add the sauce and cook over medium heat, stirring, until coated, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, three-quarters of the eggplant, the mozzarella and 1/4 cup torn basil. Add the reserved cooking water as needed to loosen. Transfer to a large shallow bowl. Top with the remaining eggplant and 1/4 cup torn basil; sprinkle with pecorino. 

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