This recipe was inspired from my favorite pasta dish at my all-time favorite Italian restaurant in New York, Aurora. Every time I go there I order the same thing because it’s that good. Pacceri is a unique type of pasta and really gives this dish a special something, but if you cannot find it you can use any other similar pasta such as penne or rigatoni.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes or to taste
- 8 oz Pacceri
- 1 vidalia onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 eggplant, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes (no need to peel)
- 2 roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- Jarred pesto (I love Trader Joe’s) or you can make your own (if you have the time)
- Fresh buffalo mozzarella
Heat water in a large pot and cook the pasta, al dente.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large pan over medium heat. Add onion and chili flakes (if using), and cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add eggplant and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste and some water, 1/2 cup at a time, until everything melds into a dense sauce. This can take around 20-30 minutes. By the time I’m done cooking this sauce, I have usually added about 3 or 4 cups of water, or even more.
Turn off the heat, and add the drained pasta to the sauce and stir to coat. Serve with dollops of pesto and chunks of mozzarella on top.