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Orecchiette alla Pugliese

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Recipe By Christina Pirello

I learned this recipe from Salvatore Di Cristofaro, one of the finest and most knowledgeable Italian chefs I have had the honor to work with over my career. Loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients like folate, this dish will be on your table all the time and you’ll rest easy knowing everyone is well-fed.

Makes 4–5 servings


  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 long hot pepper, minced
  • 2–3 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
  • 2 small Italian eggplants, diced
  • 1 cup diced canned tomatoes
  • 4 ounces pitted black olives
  • 5–6 sprigs fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 5–6 sprigs fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 1 pound whole-wheat or semolina orecchiette, cooked al dente, about 8–9 minutes


    1. Start a large pot of water boiling, with a generous pinch of salt and a drizzle of oil.
    2. Place about ¼ cup oil, pepper, and garlic in a deep skillet over medium heat. Sauté until garlic is lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in eggplant, and a pinch of salt and sauté for 2 minutes. (You may need to add a touch of oil, as the eggplant soaks it up). Stir in tomatoes, olives, parsley, basil (reserving about 1 teaspoon of each for garnish), and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 8 minutes.
    3. While the sauce simmers, cook pasta al dente, about 8–9 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pasta to the skillet with the sauce and stir gently to combine. Serve hot, garnished with a bit more fresh parsley and basil.

Reminder: The ingredients in a recipe determine if it should be eaten every day, some days, or on special occasions. It's up to you and you doctor to determine what can be part of a healthy diet for you and any special needs you may have.

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