Most ragu contain meat, but this example from Abruzzo, the province where most of Italy’s grain for pasta is grown, is made with eggplant. This is usually served on maccheroni alla chitarra, a pasta with a square profile. If making pasta at home, thin the pasta to the setting that leaves it the same thickness as the thin cutter.
- 4 medium tomatoes, cores removed and small cross cut in blossom end
- 1 pound eggplant
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 sprig each thyme, oregano, sage, and mint, chopped
- 2 cups dry white wine, divided
- Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop the tomatoes in for about a minute, then run under cold water. Reserve the water for the pasta. Peel, seed, and dice the tomatoes. Set aside. Peel and chop eggplant and set aside. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add eggplant, garlic, tomato paste, pepper flakes, and herbs. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Add 1 cup wine and cook for 10–15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Add remaining wine and reserved tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for an hour, or until vegetables are very tender. Season to taste.