- 5 medium eggplants, halved lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 red Thai chile, thinly sliced
- Coarse salt
- 1 pound pennoni, rigatoni, or orecchiette, cooked until al dente (1 cup cooking water reserved)
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 8 ounces burrata or mozzarella cheese, torn into pieces
- Heat grill to medium. Brush eggplants with oil. Grill, turning occasionally, until soft and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; let cool. Coarsely chop eggplant.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic until golden, about 3 minutes. Add eggplant and chile; toss to coat. Season with salt.
- Toss in pasta, reserved cooking water, and lemon zest and juice. Remove from heat. Stir in burrata and mint.
Follow these steps when you cook the pasta for each dish: Bring a large pot of water (6 quarts) to a boil -- you want enough water so the pasta can move around. Season the water with 1/4 cup coarse salt. (The water should be well seasoned; think "salty like the sea.") Cook 1 pound of pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving at least 2 cups cooking water. The pasta releases starch as it cooks, and the starchy water is essential to the sauce.