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Cool Ziti with Eggplant and Tomatoes


By DAVID TANIS for The New York Times; photo by Karsten Moran for The New York Times

You don’t find pasta salads in Italy, but in very hot weather, room temperature or cooled-down pasta with vegetables can be quite delicious, prepared in advance for a casual picnic or supper. Here, the quantity of juicy ripe tomato and eggplant makes this pasta dish more like a vegetable salad.

TOTAL TIME: 45 minutes
YIELD: 4 to 6 servings


910 g 2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cut in wedges
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 or 3 garlic cloves, minced
2 ml1/2 teaspoon peperoncino (hot red pepper flakes)
10 ml2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
* 2 medium eggplants, about 1 pound
** 12 ounces ziti or other short pasta
***1/4 pound ricotta salata or mild feta, at room temperature
1 small bunch basil, for garnish


1. Heat broiler. Put tomato wedges in a shallow baking dish in one layer. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Broil tomatoes about 2 inches from heat until softened and lightly charred, 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside until cool, and then add garlic, peperoncino and capers. Stir gently to distribute.

2. Slice eggplant into long strips about 1/4-inch thick. Paint both sides of eggplant strips with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook eggplant strips on a stovetop grill, in a cast-iron pan or over hot coals, about two minutes per side. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.

3. Boil the pasta in abundantly salted water until al dente, then drain and rinse briefly. Blot dry and put in a wide serving bowl. Add tomato mixture and eggplant. Toss gently to distribute. Taste for salt and hot pepper and adjust.

4. Crumble cheese over top. Drizzle with a little more oil and garnish with torn basil leaves.

Originally published with Cool Noodle Dishes That Defy the Season
New York Times, July 16, 2014


* I used 4 Japanese eggplants, and first I smoked them in my stovetop smoker. Optional, but smoking adds to the flavor.
** You can use gluten free pasta, of course. I used Bionaturae® organic, gluten free penne rigate, made with rice, potato and soy.
*** In her book, "Artisan Vegan Cheese," Miyoko Schinner presents 2 different recipes for vegan ricotta, one with a tofu base, the other made with almonds. I tried them both and preferred the almond-based version. See recipe elsewhere on this website.

Major Ingredients: