- Slice eggplant into 1cm thick slices and sprinkle with salt, then set aside for 10 minutes. Wash and pick basil leaves from the stem.
- Heat half the olive oil in frying pan and fry the eggplant slices in batches until golden and softened (about 5-8 minutes per batch) before removing to a plate. Repeat until all the eggplant is cooked, adding extra oil as needed.
- Meanwhile, place a large saucepan of water on the stove and bring to the boil.
- Once all the eggplant is cooked, add remaining olive oil to pan and saute the garlic and chilli over medium high heat for 5 minutes, before adding the tinned tomatoes, tomato passata, balsamic vinegar and sugar and stir to combine. Bring to the boil then simmer to reduce and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- While sauce is reducing, cook pasta of choice (spaghetti or casarecce work well) according to packet instructions, then drain and toss through the sauce with basil leaves.
Generously top with ricotta salata or a sharp Pecorino Romano cheese and garnish with a sprig of basil to serve.
*Ricotta salata is a salted, aged form of ricotta cheese with a crumbly texture.