Ingredients

2 cups cubed eggplant
? teaspoon salt
3 quarts water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups Tomato Sauce 
1 cup Chicken Stock or water 
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 pound short pasta
5 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, cubed

Directions

1. Place the eggplant in a colander, sprinkle it with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, mix well, cover with a weighted plate and let drain for about 15 minutes. Pat the eggplant cubes dry.

2. Bring the water to boil in a large pot.

3. While the water is heating, pour the oil into a large nonstick saute pan set on high heat and cook until it starts to ripple and is almost smoking. Add the eggplant, cook for 2 minutes, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, remaining salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato sauce, stock or water, and basil, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, return it to the pot and add the sauce. Toss until well coasted and cooked over medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; add the smoked mozzarella, toss and serve.

Nick Stellino uses chicken stock in this recipe. To keep it vegetarian substitute water or vegetable stock. If you can't find good quality smoked mozzarella, use fresh, water-packed mozzarella.

Pasta with Eggplant and Tomato Sauce
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