255mlextra-virgin olive oil(240 ml for frying + 15 ml for the sauce)
5whole canned plum tomatoes
½cup120 ml of warm water or the juice of the canned tomatoes
a pinch of brown sugar or a bay leaf
Sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
350gpenne or spaghetti pasta
3tbspricotta salata cheese grated
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Finely cube the eggplant, and pat the cubes dry with paper towels.
Heat 1 cup (240 ml) of extra-virgin olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Fold in the eggplant in a single layer and fry it until it’s crispy and golden on both sides, about 4 minutes.
Remove the eggplant with a slotted spoon and arrange the cubes in a single layer on a dish covered with paper towels. Dab the slices with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
Slice the tomatoes into half and remove their seeds. Heat a large pan with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of extra-virgin olive oil and the garlic over medium heat. Fold in the tomatoes and stir-fry them for 5 minutes. Stir in ½ cup (120 ml) of warm water , 2 basil leaves and a pinch of sugar (or bay leaf), cover with a lid and cook for 10-15 minutes. Discard the garlic (and bay leaf if using) and season the sauce with sea salt and black pepper to taste.
Lightly salt the boiling water, fold in the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and add it into the pan with the tomato sauce, followed by the fried eggplant cubes and the remaining basil leaves.
Stir all the ingredients together, sprinkle the ricotta salata all over the pasta and serve.