NewsDelicious Ziti with Spicy Sweet Sauce, Sausage, and Eggplant

Delicious Ziti with Spicy Sweet Sauce, Sausage, and Eggplant

Ziti & Sweet-but-Hot Sauce with Sausage & Eggplant

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant

  • Salt

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • 1 lb. sweet Italian sausage with fennel, casings removed

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 can (28 oz.) Italian tomatoes

  • A few leaves of basil, torn

  • 3 to 4 tbsp. chopped hot Italian cherry pepper rings plus 2 tbsp. brine, or 3 tbsp. Cento Cherry Pepper Hoagie Spread

  • 1 lb. ziti with lines (rigate)

  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for tossing and serving

  • EVOO, for serving

Preparation Steps

  • Step 1

    Begin by using a peeler to remove half of the skin from the eggplant in long strips, creating a striped effect. Chop the eggplant and sprinkle with salt, allowing it to drain on a kitchen towel while preparing the sauce.

  • Step 2

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil for cooking the pasta.

  • Step 3

    Heat a large saucepot or skillet over medium-high to high heat. Add two turns of olive oil to the pan and cook the sausage until browned, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Squeeze excess liquid from the eggplant and add it to the pan along with the onion and garlic. Cook until the vegetables soften, then add the tomatoes and cook until the sauce thickens. Finally, stir in the basil and cherry peppers with brine.

  • Step 4

    Season the boiling water with salt and cook the pasta until slightly underdone according to the package instructions. Reserve a cup of cooking water before draining the pasta.

  • Step 5

    Add the pasta, reserved cooking water, cheese, and a drizzle of EVOO to the pan and toss until well coated. Serve in bowls, garnishing with additional cheese at the table.

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