penne al fresco
||3/4 cup olive oil
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 28 oz. can crushed plum tomatoes
1 large, firm eggplant, cubed (do not peel)
1/2 lb. hot Italian sausage
1 bunch basil, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dry-cured olives, coarsely chopped
2 cups whole milk mozzarella, cubed
salt & pepper to taste
1. In an unheated skillet combine 1/4 cup olive oil, onion, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook over moderate heat until garlic turns golden but does not brown, about 2-3 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, stir to blend, and simmer uncovered until sauce begins to thicken, about 15 minutes.
2. In a large, deep skillet, heat 1/2 cup olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add eggplant and brown for 5 minutes. Stir continuously to prevent scorching. Season generously with salt.
3. In another skillet, crumble sausage into 1-1 1/2 inch pieces and brown over medium-high heat.
4. Add eggplant to tomato sauce and keep warm over low heat, allowing eggplant to absorb sauce, about 10 minutes.
5. Add cooked sausage, 1/4 cup chopped basil, and 1/4 cup chopped olives to sauce. Salt and pepper to taste.
1. In a large pot, cook penne until al dente. Drain.
2. Spoon pasta into bowls and top with sauce, a handful of mozzarella cubes, and sprinkling of basil.