Fresh Cavatelli & Spicy Corn with Fairy Tale Eggplants, Currants, & Ricotta Salata

Fresh Cavatelli & Spicy Corn

with Fairy Tale Eggplants, Currants, & Ricotta Salata

30 MIN
2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

This recipe has all the makings of a great Italian meal: fresh pasta accompanied by a seasonal vegetable side (also known as a contorno). We’re tossing tender cavatelli with creamy mascarpone and a spicy-sweet duo of corn and fresno pepper. For our vibrant side, roasted fairy tale eggplants get pops of flavor from sweet-tart currants, basil, and briny ricotta salata (an aged, pressed version of the fresh cheese).

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    710 Cals (est.)
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tips & techniques
Prepare the ingredients & rehydrate the currants:
1 Prepare the ingredients & rehydrate the currants:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Quarter the eggplants lengthwise; place in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. In a large bowl, combine the currants and vinegar. Pick the basil leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Remove and discard the corn husks and silks. Cut the corn kernels off the cob; discard the cob. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Grate the ricotta salata cheese on the large side of a box grater. Cut off and discard the stem end of the pepper; halve lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. (For a milder dish, remove and discard the ribs and seeds.) Thoroughly wash your hands immediately after handling the pepper.

Roast the eggplants:
2 Roast the eggplants:

Pat the seasoned eggplants dry with paper towels; place on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat; arrange in a single layer, skin side down. Roast 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven.

Cook the corn:
3 Cook the corn:

While the eggplants roast, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the corn in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the garlic and as much of the pepper as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the pasta:
4 Cook the pasta:

While the corn cooks, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until just shy of al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly.

Finish the pasta:
5 Finish the pasta:

Add the cooked pasta and half the reserved pasta cooking water to the pan of cooked corn. Cook on medium-high, stirring vigorously, 1 to 2 minutes, or until coated. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Turn off the heat; stir in the mascarpone cheese until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Finish the eggplants & plate your dish:
6 Finish the eggplants & plate your dish:

Transfer the roasted eggplants to the bowl of rehydrated currants. Add half the basil (tearing the leaves just before adding). Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add a drizzle of olive oil; stir to coat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving dish (including any liquid). Garnish with the ricotta salata cheese. Divide the finished pasta between 2 dishes. Garnish with the remaining basil (tearing the leaves just before adding) and parmesan cheese. Serve with the finished eggplants on the side. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

1 Prepare the ingredients & rehydrate the currants:

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Quarter the eggplants lengthwise; place in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. In a large bowl, combine the currants and vinegar. Pick the basil leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Remove and discard the corn husks and silks. Cut the corn kernels off the cob; discard the cob. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Grate the ricotta salata cheese on the large side of a box grater. Cut off and discard the stem end of the pepper; halve lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. (For a milder dish, remove and discard the ribs and seeds.) Thoroughly wash your hands immediately after handling the pepper.

2 Roast the eggplants:

Pat the seasoned eggplants dry with paper towels; place on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat; arrange in a single layer, skin side down. Roast 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven.

Roast the eggplants:
Cook the corn:
3 Cook the corn:

While the eggplants roast, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the corn in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Add the garlic and as much of the pepper as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened and fragrant. Turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4 Cook the pasta:

While the corn cooks, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until just shy of al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly.

Cook the pasta:
Finish the pasta:
5 Finish the pasta:

Add the cooked pasta and half the reserved pasta cooking water to the pan of cooked corn. Cook on medium-high, stirring vigorously, 1 to 2 minutes, or until coated. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Turn off the heat; stir in the mascarpone cheese until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6 Finish the eggplants & plate your dish:

Transfer the roasted eggplants to the bowl of rehydrated currants. Add half the basil (tearing the leaves just before adding). Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Add a drizzle of olive oil; stir to coat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving dish (including any liquid). Garnish with the ricotta salata cheese. Divide the finished pasta between 2 dishes. Garnish with the remaining basil (tearing the leaves just before adding) and parmesan cheese. Serve with the finished eggplants on the side. Enjoy!

Finish the eggplants & plate your dish:
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