Serve this tasty pasta salad all year round. It's flavored with traditional eggplant caponata ingredients (including olives, ripe tomatoes, and fresh herbs), and it's great for an everyday dinner, potluck, or buffet. It's best served at room temperature. Photos by Evan Atlas.
- 1 large eggplant about 1 to 1 ¼ pounds
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced .
- 2 medium celery stalks diced
- 1 pound ripe juicy tomatoes finely diced
- ½ cup chopped green olives
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano optional
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 10 to 12 ounces pasta any short shape
- Preheat the oven to 425º F.
- Place the eggplant on a foil-lined baking sheet, and bake until it collapses, about 40 minutes. When it is cool enough to handle, peel it and finely chop the flesh.
- To make the caponata, heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent.
- Add the garlic and celery, and sauté until the onion is lightly browned. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggplant with the onion mixture and the rest of the ingredients, and stir together. Allow to cool to room temperature and transfer to a serving bowl.
- Once the caponata is nearly cooled, cook the pasta in plenty of rapidly simmering water until al dente. Drain and rinse under cool water, then drain well again.
- Combine with the pasta with the eggplant mixture in the bowl, and toss well. Serve at room temperature.