Cavatappi with Eggplant and Smoked Mozzarella

A few years (decades) ago I was a receptionist at a small accounting firm that was right down the road from a tiny hole in the wall italian restaurant. I would go there from time to time for a salad or a sandwich, but one day my world changed, I was craving some pasta so I ordered up this dish that had smoked mozzarella on it. Now, I had never had anything with smoked mozzarella and honestly had no clue what I was in for. I was blown away by the flavor of this cheese. It was that stringy creaminess that we all love about mozzarella but the wonderful light smokey flavor was amazing especially with the slightly tart, bright tomato sauce. My new mission in life was recreating this dish at home. I quickly ran into a road block, I couldn’t find smoked mozzarella anywhere. Finally I found a small italian deli that carried this wonderful cheese and I was set, until they closed! I went a few years with any smoky creamy goodness, until a few years ago when supermarkets started carrying a huge variety of cheeses. I love going in now and seeing all of the different unique cheeses one can get at any regular market!! All that being said, my supermarket doesnt always carry this wonderful treat, but when they do I know what I am making for lunch!

This is one of those wonderful dishes that you can make the sauce in the same amount of time it takes to bring the water to a boil and cook your pasta. So I get a large pot of water on a high heat to get ready for the pasta. Then I start on the sauce. I get my oil in a large pot over a low heat and then mince up my garlic and add that to the oil. I like to get the oil flavored with the garlic while I work on my eggplant. I use a knife to peel my eggplant (I tried using a peeler once, that was a disaster) I then cut in length wise into three sections, and then I cut those into strips, then the strips get cut down into medium size pieces.

I find this is the easiest way to get everything about the same size. I up my heat to medium high and add my eggplant to the pot. Keep an eye on the heat, you don’t want to get too hot and burn your garlic. I add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper at this point.

After about five minutes I add some tomato paste to the pot and cook that for a minute or two.

Next I add my white wine and let that simmer down for ten minutes. I also add cavatapi and a handful of salt to the boiling water. While the wine is simmering and the pasta is boiling, I cut the cheese up into small pieces. I use the same technique I used with the eggpant. I add the canned tomatoes to the egglant and cook for a minute or two before I add the cooked pasta to the mix.

I let the pasta cook in there for a minute and then turn off the heat and then add my cheese. I stir in the cheese and it imediatly starts to melt. I try and serve it quickly before the cheese forms one big clump. I like to add a good amount of basil to each serving. This could easily be made into four healthy size portions, or if you are just craving a good old plate of pasta, then you are looking at two portions. Look at this melty goodness!!

Cavatapi with Eggplant and Smoked Mozzarella

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium Eggplant
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 Cup White Wine
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatos (14.5 oz)
  • 4 oz Smoked Mozzarella
  • 1/2 Lb Cavatappi or other shaped pasta (Cooked)
  • Fresh Basil
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions

  1. Add olive oil to a large pot over a low heat. Mince garlic and add to olive oil.
  2. Peel eggplant and cube into medium size pieces. Turn heat up to a medium high and add eggplant to the pot, salt and pepper. Cook for five minutes.
  3. Add tomato paste to eggplant and cook for two minutes. Add white wine and let that cook for ten minutes.
  4. While the wine is simmering, cut cheese into a small dice.
  5. Add tomatoes to the pot and cook for two minutes.
  6. Add pasta to pot and cook for another minute. Turn off heat and stir in the cheese. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed. Rip up or cut basil and add to each serving.

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