this recipe is from two meatballs in the italian kitchen by pino luongo and mark strausman
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
8 oz sweet italian sausages (about 2), removed from casings and crumbled
1/2 dry white wine
1 large eggplant or 4 small sicilian eggplants (about 1.25 lb), cut into 1/2″ dice
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cute into 1/2″ dice
1 28-oz can italian plum tomatoes, preferably san marzano, with their juice, pureed in a food mill or food processor
1 tsp dried oregano, preferably sicilian
2 tbsp plus 1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp crushed hot red pepper, or more to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh italian parsley
fresh ground pepper
1 lb rigatoni or mezzemaniche
1/4 cup (1 oz) freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
heat a 10″-12″ skillet over medium heat. when it is hot, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and beginning to color, 5-7 minutes. add the sausage and cook, stirring frequently and breaking it into small bits with a wooden spoon, until it loses its raw color, about 4 minutes. add the wine and bring to a boil. add the eggplant and bell pepper, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until most of the wine has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
add the tomatoes, oregano, 1 tsp of salt, and the hot pepper flakes. reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and cook for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft.
stir in the parsley and cook, uncovered, until the sauce is thick and well combined, about 6 minutes. season with salt and black pepper to taste. transfer the sauce to a large warmed serving bowl.
while the sauce is cooking, fill a 10-quart stock pot with 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil over high heat. add the remaining 2 tbsp kosher salt. add the pasta, stir, and cook until al dente.
reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta. add it to the bowl with the sauce and toss to combine. if the pasta looks dry, add the reserved cooking water, 1 tbsp at a time, tossing to combine between additions. sprinkle with parmagiano reggiano and serve immediately.
comments: cameron says this is one of the best pastas he’s had in his life! i also agree that is a really excellent recipe. we splurged and went with the de cecco pasta ($4/lb.) and the san marzano tomatoes ($5 for 28-oz can). we could both tell the de cecco pasta tasted different than the brands we usually buy; i’m still not sure if i can taste the san marzano tomatoes, but pino and mark say they are really good, and they probably are. my palette is not that refined… usually i am just stuffing my face with food. anyway, great recipe!