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Simone Panella's

SUMMER PASTA

The chef at Brooklyn hot spot Antica Pesa—celebs from Tom Hardy to Madonna are fans! - shares a Sicilian dish

PASTA ALLA NORMA

Serves 4

2 large eggplants, sliced in ¼-in. slices Salt

½ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup olive oil

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 celery ribs, diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 (28-oz.) can plum tomatoes, chopped

½ tsp. sugar

6 basil leaves, chopped

1 (16-oz.) package rigatoni pasta

3½ oz. ricotta salata, grated

1. Sprinkle eggplant with 1 tbsp. salt. Place in a colander, cover with a weighted plate, and let stand at room temperature 20 minutes. Rinse eggplant and pat dry.

2. Coat eggplant slices in flour. Cook in batches, using 2 tbsp. oil for each batch, in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, turning once, 3 to 5 minutes until golden. Set aside. Repeat with remaining eggplant.

3. Cook onions, celery, carrots and ½ tsp. salt with remaining olive oil in large skillet over medium heat, 10 to 15 minutes or until golden. Add tomatoes and sugar, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in basil.

4. Cook pasta in large Dutch oven until al dente according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup cooking water; drain pasta and return to Dutch oven.

5. Add half of eggplant to sauce; cook over low heat 3 to 5 minutes. Add sauce to pasta, adding reserved pasta water if needed. Garnish with remaining eggplant slices and grated ricotta salata.

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Marcela Valladolid's

CHEESECAKE

The chef and judge on CBS's The American Baking Competition puts her twist on a classic dessert

RICOTTA CHEESECAKE

Serves 6 to 8

18 cinnamon-sugar graham crackers

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 (14-oz.) can condensed milk

15 oz. fresh ricotta or requesón cheese

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. fresh orange zest

4 large eggs

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 350º.

2. Process graham crackers in food processor until finely crumbled. Add butter; process until blended. Pat crumbs over bottom and 1½ in. up sides of a 9-in. springform pan. Place on baking sheet; bake 10 minutes until golden. Cool completely.

3. Beat cream cheese and condensed milk at medium speed in bowl of electric mixer until smooth. Add ricotta, vanilla and orange zest; beat until smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

4. Pour mixture into cooled crust. Bake 50 minutes until cheesecake is puffed and golden and a tester inserted 1 in. from center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 35 minutes. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. Serve at room temperature.

The American Baking Competition airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. Central on CBS.

  • Contributors:
  • CONTRIBUTOR Catherine Kast.