1 pound penne rigate pasta
1 medium eggplant (1 1/2 pounds), cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices (I leave on half the skin – I like the color and texture it gives the dish)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for brushing
8 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced or torn
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 pound ricotta salata cheese, crumbled
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, then rinse under cold water.
While the pasta is working, heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Brush the eggplant with EVOO, season with salt and pepper and grill until tender, 6-8 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then cut into small cubes and place in a large bowl.
Add the tomatoes, basil and garlic to the eggplant. Pour in the 1/4 cup EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Add the pasta and cheese and toss to combine.