2 tbsp olive oil
1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch (2-cm) cubes
1 onion, finely chopped
I garlic clove, minced
2 large red bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 lb plum tomatoes, about 9, chopped into chunks
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp granulated sugar (optional)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup grated pecorino, Romano or Parmesan cheese
8 ounces pasta (bow-tie or your favorite shape)
Heat oil in a large frying pan set over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and cook, stirring often, until it begins to brown, from 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes.
Stir in peppers, tomatoes (include any juice), vinegar, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, over medium- low heat and stirring often, until eggplant is tender, from. 10 to 15 minutes. Taste. if eggplant is bitter, stir in up to 1 teaspoon sugar. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. If making sauce ahead, refrigerate for up to 1 day. Reheat, stirring often, over low heat or in a microwave. just before serving, toss with pasta, basil and cheese.