August 21, 2019
Sicilian Caponata Pasta

Sicilian Caponata Pasta! Tender eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and basil tossed with rigatoni. The perfect plant-based late-summer dinner!
sicilian caponata pasta

I took everyone’s favorite summer caponata and made it into a pasta! Whenever I see a mix of eggplants and tomatoes at the market, my mind always goes to caponata. It was one of my grandfather’s favorite snacks and one I’ve really grown to love the older I get.

In my house, caponata is basically a cooked vegetable salad with lots of eggplant and plenty of sweet vinegar. It’s slightly sour, tangy yet perfectly sweet and one of the best things to pile on toasted bread this time of year. Think of it as a Sicilian sweet and sour version of ratatouille.

The only problem? That my dear, sweet husband isn’t an eggplant fan and therefore, it’s hard to get up the energy to make this one just for me. I knew if I cooked down the eggplant enough and tossed it with pasta, there was no way he would even know it’s in there.

sicilian caponata pasta

That’s the real beauty of eggplant. Cook it long enough and it becomes so tender it almost melts into whatever you’re cooking. This is true in my eggplant bolognese recipe and even more true in this simple pasta. The creamy cooked eggplant also replaces any need for dairy; it coats the cooked rigatoni without a drop of cream or butter.

Since I take liberties with almost everything I cook, I wanted to make this the ultimate summer pasta. So I added in zucchini and omitted classic Sicilian flavors like raisins and capers because I wanted Van to love this one as well. It’s not quite as sour as traditional caponata, but it’s pretty perfect if you ask me.

sicilian caponata pastasicilian caponata

The end of August is always a weird time of year. It’s been over 4 years since I last worked in a University setting, but my body is still wired on an academic schedule. I’m not quite ready to give up summer, but I’m also getting very excited for Fall. I try so hard to not wish away time and to be more present, but it’s always a challenge. Especially on the dawn of a new season and exciting things around the corner…

Pumpkin and apple season might almost be upon us, but I’d like to resist the urge to go there quite yet. Let’s savor all of summers beauties. The tomatoes are at their absolute best right now and I’ve got more zucchini in my fridge then I know what to do with.

Cheers to the dog days! xo

sicilian caponata
sicilian caponata pasta

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Sicilian Caponata Pasta

Sicilian Caponata Pasta

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, pasta
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: Italian, American, Sicilian

Description

Sicilian Caponata Pasta! Tender eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and basil tossed with rigatoni. The perfect plant-based late-summer dinner!


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, pasta
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: Italian, American, Sicilian
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, pasta
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: Italian, American, Sicilian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 (about 3/4 lb) eggplant, trimmed, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lb. ziti noodles, regular or whole wheat

Instructions

  1. Toss eggplant and salt together in a bowl. Let rest for 20-30 minutes to let the water draw out. Transfer eggplant gently gently into a colander (but do not rinse), then squeeze lightly with a paper towel.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat; add the garlic and quickly cook for 30 seconds, taking care not to burn. Meanwhile, Bring a large pot of salt of water to a boil.
  3. Add the eggplant to the saute pan and cook for 5-7 minutes until soft and slightly browned. Add the zucchini, and cook an additional 5 minutes, then add in the broth, pepper, oregano, cherry tomatoes and cook another 5 minutes until tomatoes are softened and mixture has thickened.
  4. Add the rigatoni to the boiling water and cook until al dente.
  5. Add the basil and balsamic vinegar to the eggplant mixture and remove from heat. Toss with the cooked pasta and season to taste, adding more salt/pepper if desired. Enjoy!

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If you like this Sicilian Caponata recipe, then you will also love my 20 minute vegan pastaSpicy Tomato Penne pasta, vegetarian pasta bake with no-cook noodles, and this simple weeknight zucchini pasta. 

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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