When Italians cook, it's all about the food: faithful, simple and unfailingly delicious. And that's always a recipe for success. This simple vegetarian pasta has the colours of the Italian flag and the tastes of summer.
4 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1.5cm cubes
1 red capsicum, seeded and cut into 1cm cubes
500g dried rigatoni
250g bocconcini cheese, quartered
¼ cup freshly torn basil leaves, to serve
freshly ground black pepper, to serve
1. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and fry the garlic until fragrant. Add the eggplant and fry for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the capsicum and continue to fry on medium heat for a further 5-10 minutes until the eggplant and capsicum are softened and browned.
2. While the eggplant and capsicum are cooking, boil the pasta in salted water according to the packet directions. When it's cooked, reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta well. Return the pasta to the warm pot and add the eggplant, capsicum and all the oil from the frying pan, plus the bocconcini and the reserved pasta water.
3. Combine, stirring well, until the bocconcini starts to melt. Divide the pasta between 4 serving plates, scatter with torn basil and finish with a grind of black pepper.