Orecchiette alla Pugliese
I learned this recipe from Chef Salvatore, a dear friend and brilliant chef. This delicious main course pasta dish is the signature dish of his native Puglia.
Extra virgin olive oil
1 long hot pepper, minced
2-3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
2 small Italian eggplants, diced
1 cup diced canned tomatoes
4 ounces pitted black olives
5-6 sprigs fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
5-6 sprigs fresh basil, coarsely chopped
Cracked black pepper
1 pound orecchiette, cooked al dente, about 8-9 minutes
Start a large pot of water boiling, with a generous pinch of salt.
Place about 1/4 cup oil, pepper and garlic in a deep skillet over medium heat. Sautee until garlic is lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in eggplant, a pinch of salt and sautee for 2 minutes. (You may need to add a touch of oil, as the eggplant soaks it up). Stir in tomatoes, olives, parsley, basil (reserving about 1 teaspoon of each for garnish) and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 8 minutes.
While the sauce simmers, cook pasta al dente, about 8-9 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to the skillet with the sauce and stir gently to combine. Serve hot, garnished with a bit more fresh parsley and basil. Makes 8-9 servings.