1lb eggplant, any variety, trimmed & cut into 1 inch piece
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1, 28oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1-2 teaspoons good quality, thick balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, plus more for serving, optional
1 lb pasta, prefereably rigatoni or penne
3oz shredded parmesan or burrata for serving, optional
- Preheat oven to 425F and bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.
- Place the eggplant on a large parchment-lined baking sheet, season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and pepper. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and toss eggplant to coat. Roast until the eggplant is tender and charred in some spots, about 25-30 minutes.
- In the meantime, add remaining olive oil to a large pot on medium-high heat. Add the garlic and shallots and sauté until shallots are soft and translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, dried oregano, and chili flakes. Bring to a simmer, add the balsamic vinegar and water, and stir. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook until all the flavors have come together, about 15-20 minutes.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 1-2 minutes less than suggested on the package. The pasta will finish cooking in the sauce. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water to use later.
- Add the roasted eggplant, cooked pasta, and basil directly into the sauce and stir to coat, using the pasta water as needed to form a silky sauce.
- Serve in big bowls with more basil, parmesan cheese or burrata, and black pepper.