Recipe: Sicilian Caponata with Pasta

Recipe by Gizzy Barton, Bellina Alimentari

Demonstrated at the Ponce City Farmers Market on Tuesday, July 19, 2016


  • 500-gram pack of small dried pasta, such as Paccheri
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 2 large eggplants (Aluma Farm)
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove (Truly Living Well)
  • 1 large red onion (Cosmos Organic Farm)
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 teaspoon chile flakes
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 4 large tomatoes (Aluma Farm)
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 tablespoons black olives, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 springs parsley
  • 3 springs basil (Aluma Farm)
  • 4 tablespoons parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated
2017-07-19 Chef Gizzy Barton Bellina PCFM

Gizzy Barton of Bellina Alimentari hard at work


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut eggplant into one-inch cubes, leaving the skin on. Sprinkle with 1.5 tablespoons salt, and leave to drain in a colander for 30 minutes.
  3. Toss the eggplant with two tablespoons olive oil and roast in the oven until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, fill a large pot with water for the pasta and bring to a boil.
  5. Peel the garlic clove and dice the onion and celery.
  6. Heat two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a shallow pan on medium-high flame and add the garlic clove and chile flakes. When those start to sizzle, add the onion and celery. Stir frequently.
  7. When vegetables start browning, add the wine. Lower the flame to medium and cook for five minutes, or until vegetables are tender. If the vegetables brown more or stick to the pan, add a few tablespoons hot water from the pasta pot.
  8. Dice tomatoes and add them to the pan. Lower the flame and cover. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  9. At this stage, your eggplant should be ready in the oven. Add it to the pan and stir.
  10. Add raisins, capers, olives, pine nuts, vinegar and sugar to the pan. Stir. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes, and add salt to taste.
  11. Chop the parsley and basil. Add to the sauce and remove pan from heat.
  12. Once the water is boiling, add two tablespoons salt. Pour the pasta in the boiling water and keep stirring so that it doesn’t stick. Cook for the suggested time on the package, but our suggestion is to always try one noodle before draining. You want to cook it al dente. Dente means “tooth” in Italian, and suggests that the texture must be firm and have a bite to it.
  13. Once the pasta is ready, set aside about three tablespoons of cooking water and drain.
  14. Add pasta, cooking water and sauce back into the pasta pot. Stir on high flame for a minute or two to help the pasta soak up bits of the sauce as it thickens.
  15. Plate the pasta in individual serving bowls and drizzle with remaining olive oil. Garnish with shaved parmigano-reggiano cheese. Buon apetito!

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