The Literate Chef

Rigatoni all’ Oltrarno

In Pasta, Recipes on May 12, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Rigatoni with Roasted Eggplant and Black Olives in a spicy tomato-based sauce.

NOTE: This recipe, which makes about 5 quarts of sauce can be frozen in batches and is enough for 3 lbs. of Rigatoni.


  • 12 -18 small “Italian Eggplants” (about 3 lbs.), remove tips and cut into 1-inch cubes (you can also use the large eggplants if you cannot find the smaller ones, which I find are more tender and less bitter)
  • 1 cup + 6 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon each of kosher salt & ground black pepper
  • 12 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon of Hot Red Pepper Flakes (if you do not like it spicy, use ½ tablespoon or 1 teaspoon).
  • 1 pint of pitted, imported black olives (Gaeta or Moroccan) chopped coarse
  • 3 cans (35 oz. size) San Marzano Tomatoes cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 – 3 lbs. dried Rigatoni (see note above)
  • 30 leaves of fresh Basil
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Ingredients for Rigatoni all' Oltrarno

1.    Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.    In a large bowl, toss the cubed eggplant with 1 cup of the olive oil. When fully coated, sprinkle with salt & black pepper and toss again.
3.    Spread the eggplant in one layer on 1 or 2 cookie sheets, roast in the oven between 30 and 40 minutes.
4.    Heat remaining olive oil on high in an 8 quart pot.
5.    When oil is hot but not smoking, reduce heat to medium, stir in the chopped garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Quickly add the hot red pepper flakes followed by the olives, stirring constantly for about a minute.
6.    Add the tomatoes and their liquid; return heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cook uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
7.    Add the roasted eggplant and wine, turn heat to low and simmer covered for about an hour to fully blend flavors, stir periodically.
8.    Fill a large pot with sufficient water to cook the Rigatoni according to directions on the box of pasta.
9.    When Rigatoni is cooked, drain it and toss it with the sauce.
10.    Tear basil leaves into small pieces and add to pasta, toss well again and serve with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Hot crusty Italian Bread makes a great accompaniment for this pasta dish, as does a bottle or two or three of full-bodied  Sangiovese.

See Related Article

  1. This one goes on the list for Fr, K. who thinks there is only spaghetti and only Franco-American. I’m slowly disabusing him of the notion.

  2. I was just watching Lydia Bastianich on the Create network make something similar. If you remind me of Lydia, you’ve done well. (

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