Rigatoni with Eggplant, Buffalo Mozzarella and Basil

This dish reminds me of when I arrived in Venice 27 years ago.  I discovered this pasta dish at Do Forni, a famous local restaurant.  They are still making this eggplant pasta today and it is as good as ever.  Here is my easy version of one of my favorites!

Rigatoni with Eggplant Sauce and Buffalo Mozzarella

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 pound of eggplant (note I used 3 long Eggplants, sometimes called Japanese eggplant, slice if using long, cut in small cubes if using globe eggplant)

1/2 lb Buffalo Mozzarella cut into small cubes

1 lb artisan rigatoni

3/4 cup of chopped fresh basil

2 garlic cloves crushed

hot pepper flakes or fresh hot pepper to taste

3 tbls extra virgin olive oil

1 large can of tomato sauce

1/2 tsp sugar

sea salt and pepper

parmesan cheese


-Slice or dice the eggplant place in a colander,  generously salt with sea salt (preferably course grain) allow eggplant to lose it’s water. At least 45 minutesIMG_0882

-Fill a Pasta pot with water and bring to boil

-In a wok style non stick skillet,  add olive oil ,garlic and hot pepper heat the oil and lightly brown the garlic,  add the eggplant and sauté ( I try not to use so much olive oil, the eggplant will absorb the oil then release it again just continue to stir, if it gets too dry feel free to add more oil) The eggplant will soften and start to brown about 10 minutes on med/ low heatIMG_0883

-add the tomato sauce, little salt (note- the eggplant was presalted) pepper to taste and the sugar turn the heat to low and simmer another 10 minutesIMG_0886

-while the sauce is cooking dice the mozzarella and chop the basilIMG_0887

-cook the rigatoni and time 1-1/2 minutes less than the package indicates (see pasta 101)

-With a slotted spoon and draining as you lift the pasta from the water mix the rigatoni into the sauce ( the heat of the sauce should be med) reserve the cooking water of the pasta in the event you need to elongate the mixture.  Add the mozzarella and the basil.  Serve with Parmesan cheeseFullSizeRender


Buon Appetito!