Chopped & Screwed Cavatappi
This recipe was created by Pappa Razzi's. Original recipe is posted here via Providence Journal. Makes 4 servings.
- 16 ounces of high quality, imported Italian cavatappi (short noodle) pasta, such as DiCecco
- 2 tablespoons 100 percent pure olive oil (to saute eggplant)
- 1 cup top quality extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound sauteed and pressed eggplant (see method below)
- 1 pound diced ripe plum tomatoes (diced 1/4-inch thick)
- 1 teaspoon slivered garlic (sliced very thin)
- 1 cup fresh basil (rough cut)
- 1 pound smoked mozzarella cheese (diced 1/8-inch thick)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon course black pepper
- 1 cup grated fresh romano cheese
Day 1: Prepare the Eggplant
1. Peel and dice eggplant to inch cubes.
2. Place in a colander, sprinkle with kosher salt and top with a weighted pie plate or metal mixing bowl.
3. Place in refrigerator with a pan under the colander to catch the released liquid.
NOTE: The 24-hour pressing of the egglant is important for releasing the natural bitterness of the eggplant, therefore enhancing the taste and texture of the Cavatappi Affumicati.
Day 2: Approximately three hours before you plan to serve your guests, marinate the slivered garlic, fresh basil, plum tomatoes, salt and black pepper in the 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.
- Remove eggplant from the colander, discard liquid and pat eggplant dry with a paper towel.
- In a medium saute pan, heat the 2 tablespoons of 100 percent pure olive oil to smoking point (do not use the extra virgin olive oil here as it has a lower temperature smoking point) and saute the eggplant until golden brown.
- Drain on paper towel and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, cook the cavatappi for 5-7 minutes until al dente in 6 quarts of rapidly boiling salted water.
- While pasta is cooking, assemble the sauce.
- In a large saute pan, heat the eggplant for approximately 1 minute before adding the marinated tomato, garlic, basil mixture.
- Use medium heat for 2-3 minutes until ingredients are heated through (and the tomatoes are still firm).
- At the last minute, when you are ready to serve, add the smoked mozzarella and toss in the drain and cooked cavatappi. Add 2 tablespoons of pasta water and check seasonings.
- Place in a warm serving bowl and garnish with fresh grated romano cheese.