Eggplant & Tomato Sauce over Bucatini Pasta is a classic Sicilian dinner. The sauce for Eggplant Pasta is a quick tomato sauce with sautéed eggplant, red and green bell peppers, garlic and basil. I pan fried the eggplant cubes in a separate pan, and then simmered half in the sauce, and used the other half to toss in at the end. The caper berries and kalamata olives are optional.
Aunt Florence is an amazing Italian cook, and I relish every moment I can spend with her. Her father was born in Sutera, Sicily in 1876. Sutera is a mountain town close to Aragona where my grandparents came from. She married my Dad’s older brother Joe Cipolla. Aunt Florence is an encyclopedia of knowledge about our heritage and cuisine. I recently made this dish for her and my cousin Ron for lunch and she said it passed the test. Ron is going to show me how to make her famous Stuffed Artichokes. They are a family favorite and very unique! Look for the recipe and video in the coming months.
Here is a picture of Florence and Joe Cipolla, and their children Sam, Vince and Ron in the early 1950’s.
Eggplant Pasta Sicilian Style
- 1 large eggplant or two medium eggplants, peeled, sliced thick ½ - 2 inches
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Red Bell Pepper diced
- 1 Green Bell Pepper diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 24 ounce can Italian crushed tomatoes
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup fresh minced basil
- 1 cup fresh minced Italian parsley
- ⅓ cup each kalamata olives and sicilian caper berries optional
- 1 pound Bucatini pasta
- Liberally salt eggplant slices & drain for 60 min standing up in a colander.
- Rinse with cold water and dry with paper towel. Slice in 1 ½ inch cubes
- Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large pan. Add cubed eggplant and fry until golden. Remove eggplant with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
- Add minced garlic, bell peppers, salt, red and black peppers and cook until the peppers start to soften.
- Add tomatoes, water, basil and parsley. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add more water if needed.
- Add olives, caper berries, and ⅓ of fried eggplant to the sauce and heat for 15 more minutes to allow all the flavors to blend.
- While the sauce is simmering, add 2 tablespoons salt and bucatini pasta to a large stockpot of boiling water and stir. Boil for 7 minutes or until the pasta a la dente. Add the cooked Bucatini pasta to the sauce and mix to coat all the pasta. Add the rest of the cooked eggplant cubes to the dish. Serve immediately with more freshly grated parmesan cheese.