- 2 medium eggplants (about 1 pound each), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt plus additional for cooking pasta
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 8 (or more) small peperoncini, minced
- 2 14 1/2-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
- 1 cup torn fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup crumbled ricotta salata*
Place eggplant cubes in colander and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Let eggplant drain 15 minutes. Pat dry, removing excess salt.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add peperoncini and tomatoes with juice; cook until tomatoes begin to soften, about 15 minutes. Remove tomato sauce from heat.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in another heavy large skillet over high heat. Working in 3 batches and adding 1 tablespoon olive oil for each batch, cook eggplant until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer eggplant to tomato sauce in skillet.
Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking water. Add cooking water to sauce; bring to boil. Add spaghetti and basil to sauce and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to bowl; top with ricotta salata and serve.