Roasting eggplant until slightly charred gives depth to this Southern-Italian inspired dish. A touch of sugar along with sweet sundried tomatoes balances out the tomatoes’ acidity in lieu of hours of simmering.
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Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of water with a large pinch of salt to a boil. Halve, peel, and thinly slice the onion. Thinly slice the basil. Mince or grate the garlic. Cut the eggplant into ½-inch cubes.
Toss the eggplant on a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking, until soft and golden brown around the edges.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sundried tomato and cook, tossing, for 4-5 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes to the pan and cook 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the crushed tomatoes and 1 teaspoon sugar to the pan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Stir half the basil into the sauce, then season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook 9-10 minutes, until al dente.
When the pasta is ready, drain and toss into the tomato sauce along with the roasted eggplant. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide the pasta between bowls and sprinkle with the remaining basil. Enjoy!