Penne with Eggplant and Ricotta

-Cook 1 pound penne pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, according to package instructions.

-Drain pasta; return to pot.

-Cut 1 large or 2 medium eggplants into 1 inch chunks.

-Put in a large bowl and fill the bowl with cold water and some ice cubes.

-Let the eggplant soak for 10 minutes, then drain and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel.

-Slice 4 cloves of garlic into thin slices.

-Cut 1 pound of tomatoes into ½ inch chunks.

-Heat 4 TBS extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Add the following:

¼ tsp crushed red pepper

The sliced garlic

-Cook, stirring often for about 2 minutes.

-Add eggplant to skillet; season generously with salt and pepper.

-Cover, and cook until eggplant begins to release juices, about 5 minutes.

-Uncover; cook, stirring, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes (if bottom of pan browns too much, add a few tablespoons water, and scrape with spoon).

-Add the following to the pan:

2 TBS tomato paste

The diced tomatoes

1/4 cup water

-Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.

-Tear up a large handful of basil leaves.

-Toss sauce and basil with pasta; gently reheat if necessary.

-Top each serving with a spoonful of whole milk ricotta and garnish with more basil.