I learned this from my wife's distant cousin in Lucca. It is so simple and so delicious.
3T olive oil
2 small eggplants (the 4-6" long, 1-1.5" diameter variety)
2 cloves garlic
2 C cherry tomatoes
1t herb de provence
1 box pasta, he used penne, but orecchiette works well also
Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and then each half 3 more times lengthwise forming small pie shaped logs. Cut into 1/8” dice.
Heat the oil over medium high heat and add the eggplant, reduce heat to low. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until very soft. If necessary, add small amounts of water to keep the eggplant from sticking. Chop the garlic and add to the eggplant and cook for a few minutes. Halve the tomatoes and add to the pan along with the herbs. Cook 5 to 10 minutes more. Meanwhile, cook the pasta and drain 3 minutes before done. Add the pasta to the pan and cook until the pasta is done to your taste adding some reserved pasta water as necessary.
Serve with grated cheese, pepper, and olive oil.
I should have added that what makes this dish different from typical pasta Norma type dishes is that the fine dice and long cooking of the eggplant essentially dissolves it into the sauce giving the dish a unique flavor and eliminates the problem of sometimes chewy bits of eggplant.
Edited by Hank - 9/23/15 at 9:06am