2 eggplants, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 2 cups cubed)
2 - 3 tablespoons Canola oil, or Canola oil spray, for frying eggplant
2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with back of knife
2 cups fresh plum tomatoes, peeled, and roughly chopped or small can (14.5 oz)San Marzano tomatoes, drained and chopped
1- 3 tablespoons tomato puree (called passata in Italy)
2 - 4 tablespoons ricotta salata, grated
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper
Place large pot of water on stove to boil.
Place the eggplant slices on a plate or other flat smooth surface, sprinkle with coarse salt and let set for 30 minutes to remove the bitterness. Wash slices under cold water, dry well with paper towels.
In large non-stick frying pan, heat oil and fry eggplant on both sides until golden brown. (Turn heat to medium low after oil has heated to prevent burning.) Remove slices and let rest on paper towels.
To frying pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the crushed garlic for about 2 minutes (do not let burn). Then add chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, and pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for 15 - 20 minutes or until the sauce reduces slightly. Add eggplant and chopped basil. Cook and stir over medium heat until eggplant softens.
To boiling pot of water, add liberal amount of salt and rigatoni.
Cook rigatoni until al dente and drain.
Add rigatoni to sauce and mix well.
Place in individual serving bowls and top with grated ricotta salata and additional whole basil leaves if desired.