Crimson cherry peppers bring sweetness to meaty oven-roasted eggplant slices in an oh-so-slurpable pasta dish. Can’t find cherry peppers at your local grocery store? Sub in a ripe red bell pepper for a similar taste.
|1 large eggplants||2 cloves garlic, sliced paper-thin|
|Kosher salt||8 cherry peppers or 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced|
|2 tablespoons olive oil + more for brushing the eggplant||Grated Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese|
|1 pound fettuccini, spaghetti, or other long pasta||Freshly ground black pepper|
Line a large baking sheet with a cooling rack or paper towels.
Trim the ends of the eggplant and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Line the eggplant slices on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle liberally with kosher salt. Cover the eggplant with another baking sheet and weight down with heavy cans or cookbooks.
Let the eggplant sit, weighted, for 20 minutes to press excess water out of the vegetable.
While the eggplant sits, preheat the oven to 400. Bring a 4-quart stockpot filled with water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon kosher salt.
Pat the eggplant slices dry and cut into smaller strips about 3-4 inches long. Place on a clean baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Brush lightly with olive oil and roast for 10 minutes, until dry and lightly browned.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions until al dente.
Place the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and the sliced garlic in a large skillet or saute pan over low heat. Cook gently for 2 minutes, then add the sliced peppers and cook until the peppers are softened but still retain their bite, about 3-5 minutes more.
Add the drained pasta to the pan and cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat the pasta.
Serve with grated cheese and freshly ground black pepper, if desired.
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