Marcella Hazan’s Eggplant, Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta Sauce

by Sarah on September 30, 2013

Sweet Marcella Hazan, THE expert on Italian cooking, died Sunday morning, according to her husband Victor, who updated her Facebook page with the news.  I got to know Marcella Hazan through her cookbooks, then recently read her memoir, and in the last year or two, somehow became her Facebook friend.  It was always so neat to see her post something about cooking, or reminiscing about a certain dish or ingredient, while embracing a new forum–social media–well into her 80’s.  I felt starstruck the first time she responded to something I wrote on her page.  What!  Marcella talked to me?!?  Such a kind and generous soul.

I thought it only appropriate that we honored her by cooking one of her many pasta recipes.  I had eggplant on hand, and of course she had a lovely eggplant sauce for me to make.

If you haven’t read any of Marcella’s books, please do.  Cook the recipes.  This is real cooking.  Delicate, yet hearty.  Recipes that will feed your heart and soul.

“I am never bored by a good old dish and I wouldn’t shrink from making something that I first made fifty years ago and my mother, perhaps, fifty years before then,” she wrote. “I don’t cook ‘concepts.’ I use my head, but I cook from the heart, I cook for flavor.” (The Washington Post)


Marcella Hazan’s Eggplant, Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta Sauce


  • Recipe adapted from 'Marcella Says...'
  • 1 medium eggplant (or two Japanese eggplant, which is what I had)
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large can San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1-2 tsp dried chili flakes
  • salt
  • 1/4 lb. mozzarella, cut into thin strips
  • 1 lb boxed pasta, a short tube variety (I used rigatoni)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino
  • torn basil leaves


  • Boil 4 quarts of salted water in a large pot.
  • Cut off the tops of the eggplant and cut into 1-inch dice.
  • Heat a 10-inch saute pan and add the olive oil.
  • When oil is hot, slip in the eggplant. Cook about a minute, turning the eggplant frequently.
  • Add tomatoes and chili flakes.
  • Turn heat to low and simmer until the oil floats to the top of the sauce. Season with salt and remove from heat.
  • Drop pasta into boiling water.
  • When pasta is nearly done, turn heat back on the sauce and add the mozzarella, stirring until it dissolves into the sauce.
  • When pasta is done, drain and transfer into a large warm bowl. Pour sauce over.
  • Add pecorino and torn basil leaves. Toss and serve at once.

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