Saturday, April 21, 2012

Siciliano Pasta e Caponata

Made with eggplants from my very own garden!

Caponata is typically a sailor's dish of eggplant and chopped vegetables steeped in oil and vinegar and served as an appetizer. I combined this traditional Sicilian dish with my homemade marinara and served it with pasta. I love orrecchiette for this dish because it has a nice tooth to it and captures the body of the caponata perfectly, without being dominated by it. Great marriage!

*4 cups chopped eggplant, (about 2 medium, chopped into ½ inch cubes )
*1  28 ounce can of San Marzano crushed  plum tomatoes
*1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, divided
*1 medium yellow onion, chopped
*3 ounces of Gorgonzola cheese (crumbled)
*6 cloves garlic, minced  (4 for caponata, 2 for  marinara sauce)
Fairytale Eggplants from my garden,  2011
*2 tablespoons capers, drained
*1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
*1 tablespoon, natural cane sugar
*1/3 cup red wine vinegar
*3-4 basil leaves, torn
*1/4  teaspoon, plus additional ¼ teaspoon of sea salt
 * Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for topping
* ¼ teaspoon of chili pepper flakes
*1/2 cup green Sicilian olives, minced for garnish
* 1 pound of orrecchiette pasta


1.)Toss chopped eggplant with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of sea salt.

2) In a large sauté pan laced with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat, sauté eggplant, onion, and 4 cloves of garlic until onions are translucent, about 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add capers, pine nuts, sugar, vinegar.  Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until eggplant is tender and melding together.

3.)While caponata is developing, in a large pot, heat extra-virgin olive with the remaining  2 minced garlic cloves and red chili pepper flakes  on low heat for about a minute. This infuses the garlic and pepper  into the oil before you add the tomatoes.

4.)Add the crushed tomatoes and  ¼ teaspoon of  sea salt.  Allow to simmer on very low heat for about 5 minutes.

5.)In a large pot with salted water, cook the orrecchiette pasta until el dente.

6.) While pasta is cooking, toss the caponata into the pot of marinara sauce, add the torn basil and mix thoroughly.

7.)Turn off heat and stir in the gorgonzola cheese.

8.)Drain pasta and toss in to the caponata and sauce mixture. Garnish with grated cheese and Sicilian green olives.


  1. This sounds delicious! Bookmarked! This is my first visit to your blog and I love it, great background and pictures!

    1. Hi, Jayne! Thanks for stopping by and your compliments! I try to create an atmosphere like you just stepped into an old Nonna's kitchen. Filled with warmth, love, and, of course, lots of great Italian food! Glad you like.

      Stop by , again, soon!


    2. Btw- I just followed your blog, madebyjayne. :-)