Experiment with different varieties of eggplant if you see them at the grocery or farmer’s market—don’t let the unique shapes and colors stop you, as any type is delicious. This rich stew is lovely spooned over soft corn polenta, too, or even over toasted slices of a rustic bread.
CHICKEN CAPONATA RIGATONI
Makes 4 servings
8 ounces uncooked whole-wheat rigatoni pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 large (about 20 ounces) boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
1 medium red onion, halved, sliced
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons pine nuts
Red pepper flakes to taste
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons honey
1 small eggplant (about 13 ounces), chopped (3 to 3-1/2 cups)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
Coarse salt to taste
Shredded Asiago cheese, if desired
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain, reserving ¾ cup cooking water.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven or large, deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add half of garlic and chicken chunks; sauté about 8 minutes or until chicken is browned and no longer pink in center. Remove from pan to shallow dish.
- Add remaining oil to pan; stir in remaining garlic, onion, raisins, pine nuts, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes or until onion is tender.
- Stir in tomato paste and honey; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add eggplant, vinegar, and reserved pasta cooking water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes or until eggplant is tender and mixture is thick. Stir chicken with juices back into sauce; season with salt. Serve over hot pasta, garnished with cheese.