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Rigatoni Siciliana With Roasted Eggplant and Capers

Rigatoni Siciliana, my favorite pasta, was the only pasta I ever ordered at Trattoria Roma in Chicago. Trattoria Roma was the first of many trattorias in Chicago in the 80’s and inspired other trattorias which multiplied all over the city for the next two decades. It was a regular haunt for my husband and I for years. We always ordered Rigatoni Siciliana with capers even if it wasn’t on the menu and almost always, the restaurant obliged!

Rigatoni Siciliana With Roasted Eggplant and Capers

Preheat the oven to 425˚

Prepare the eggplant – Wash and slice the eggplant in ½” slices. Place in a large bowl, drizzle with 3 tbsp olive oil and mix well. Place on a parchment lined 12” x 18” pan. Season with salt and pepper and bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Turn over and continue to bake, 10-15 more minutes until tender. Cut the slices in quarters. 

In a medium skillet, sauté the garlic in 1 tbsp of olive oil until golden brown. Set aside.

Make the marinara sauce – Combine the tomatoes, olive oil, the onion halves, carrots and salt in a large saucepan. Turn the heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes to an hour. If the sauce becomes too dry, add some vegetable broth or water. 

Discard the onion and carrots. Taste the sauce and add more salt, if necessary. If the sauce is bitter, add the baking soda and/or the butter. Season with freshly ground pepper. Add the baked eggplant, the cooked garlic and the capers. 

Cook the rigatoni per the package instructions. Drain.

Toss the Siciliana sauce with the cooked rigatoni. Drizzle with some olive oil and serve hot with cashew Parmesan and julienned basil.

To make cashew Parmesan – Place ingredients in a small jar. Mix until combined. Store in a jar in the freezer for up to 3 months.

serves 6

SICILIANA SAUCE

  • 1 large or 2 medium eggplant 
  • 5 large cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oiltwo 28 oz boxes of Pomi® chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1  medium onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 carrots, scubbed and trimmed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda, optional
  • 1 tbsp Miyoko’s cultured butter
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp capers
  • 1 lb rigatoni

GARNISH

  • cashew parmesan, recipe follows
  • fresh basil, julienned

CASHEW PARMESAN

  • ¾ cup cashew meal
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp sea salt