Pennoni with Eggplant and Burrata

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INGREDIENTS

  • 5 medium eggplants, halved lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 red Thai chile, thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 pound pennoni, rigatoni, or orecchiette, cooked until al dente (1 cup cooking water reserved)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 8 ounces burrata or mozzarella cheese, torn into pieces

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat grill to medium. Brush eggplants with oil. Grill, turning occasionally, until soft and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; let cool. Coarsely chop eggplant.

  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic until golden, about 3 minutes. Add eggplant and chile; toss to coat. Season with salt.

  3. Toss in pasta, reserved cooking water, and lemon zest and juice. Remove from heat. Stir in burrata and mint.

COOK’S NOTE

Follow these steps when you cook the pasta for each dish: Bring a large pot of water (6 quarts) to a boil — you want enough water so the pasta can move around. Season the water with 1/4 cup coarse salt. (The water should be well seasoned; think “salty like the sea.”) Cook 1 pound of pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving at least 2 cups cooking water. The pasta releases starch as it cooks, and the starchy water is essential to the sauce.
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