Zucchini and Eggplant Pasta Caponata

with Anchovy Pangrattato

Italian meals are so easy to love and this one was not the exception that even my picky eater loved this one.

Caponata is a Sicilian dish, that looks like a rough some sort of dip that can be enjoyed as a side dish or on its own over some crostini bread, traditionally made by frying vegetables mainly eggplant, and with slightly sweet and sour notes due to addition of capers, however there are as many variations in Italy as there are families.

I decided to make Caponata the inspiration of this veggie packed Pasta sauce finished with a delicious umami punched Anchovy infused Pangrattato and fresh parsley. The combination of flavours were amazing and the pasta a delight to eat.

The pasta featured in the photo was Paccarielli Rigati which is a larger version of a Rigatoni but this Caponata sauce can be enjoyed with any Tubular Pasta shape that holds Ragu type sauces such as Penne, or Paccheri, even Orecchietti and shells go well.

Pangrattato has had a come back lately having that it was traditionally used instead of Parmesan and it was often called the Poor’s man Parmesan, however nowadays is seen in many good restaurants and fine dining settings and in this dish adds up an extra textural element and the addition of an umami saltiness that rounds up the whole dish. You can leave it out if you prefer having parmesan.

In order for my kids to eat this sauce I had to mince the olives and capers very finely but if you like a more chunky consistency roughly chop these before adding to the sauce.

If you want to try other Italian inspired dishes browse my Italian recipes here.

Pasta with Zucchini and Eggplant Caponata Sauce and Anchovy Pangrattato

Recipe by KeymaCourse: Entree, MainCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 400g Tube Pasta Shape (Rigatoni, Penne, Paccarielli, Paccheri)

  • Caponata Sauce
  • 2 Zucchini (aprox 250g) diced to 1 cm cubes

  • 1 Eggplant (250g) diced to 1 cm cubes

  • 1/2 onion finely diced

  • 1 celery stalk finely diced

  • 1/4 c pitted green olives

  • 1 tbsp of capers

  • 300g cherry tomatoes

  • 4 tbsp tomato paste

  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar

  • 1 tbsp of sugar

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • oil for frying

  • olive oil

  • Pasta sauce

  • Anchovy Pangrattato
  • 4 anchovy fillets

  • 2 slices of crusty bread or stale bread

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 1 garlic clove minced

  • Garnish
  • Parsley chiffonade


  • Caponata Sauce
  • In a deep pan heat oil till around 180C, fry zucchini and eggplant in batches for about 3-5 min until golden and soft, drain in paper towels.
  • In a heavy bottom pan, add couple of tbsp of oil, saute onions and celery until translucent.
  • Meanwhile in a large pot bring enough water to cook pasta to rolling boil, and cook pasta till al dente reserve pasta water.
  • Add olives, capers to onions, and toss cooking for a couple of minutes, add tomato paste and let cook with all the ingredients.
  • Add cherry tomatoes and toss with all the ingredients for 3 min to soften, add cooked zucchini, eggplant and sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper and toss everything together.
  • Add pasta water by the spoonful and continue tossing to emulsify with the sauce.
  • Incorporate cooked pasta and toss everything together.
  • Anchovy Pangrattato (make in advance)
  • If the bread is not crusty enough, toast in preheated oven for about 180C until is very crispy.
  • In a food processor add the bread in pieces and the anchovies.
  • In a frying pan melt butter and add minced garlic, cook until slightly coloured, add breadcrumbs and toast for a couple of minutes until deep browned but not burned and reserve until ready to serve.
  • Serve
  • Serve tossed pasta add more sauce on top and pangrattato, finish with finely chopped parsley.