My Merry Band of Tasters and I were treated to this recipe at the Di Mercurio family’s farm in Italy after an olive harvest, and master miller Duccio Morozzo and I liked it so much we decided to recreate it back in his Roman kitchen.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1/2 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
- 1/2 small eggplant, stemmed, peeled, and diced
- 1/2 small zucchini, stemmed and diced
- 1 small red onion, peeled and diced
- Coarse sea salt
- 8 ounces dry rigatoni
- 3 cups tomato purée or crushed tomatoes
- Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving
- Crushed red pepper flakes for serving
- Basil leaves for garnish
Pour the 1/4 cup of olive oil into a cold saucepan. Add the bell pepper, eggplant, zucchini, onion, and a pinch or two of salt. Sauté the vegetables until they’re soft and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook until al dente according to the package directions.
Stir the tomato purée into the vegetables and simmer over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
Purée the sauce with a stick blender until it’s fairly smooth. Season with additional salt, if desired. Drain the rigatoni and add to the sauce. Gently stir to combine. Transfer to a warmed shallow bowl and serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, red pepper flakes, and extra olive oil for drizzling. Garnish with basil as desired.
Yields 4 lunch or 2 dinner servings.