Sweet, savory, smokey, and all vegetable (well, mostly), this sicilian dish can be scooped onto plates or crostini as a side, mixed into pastas as a sauce or even used as a pizza topping alongside some smoked mozzarella. Roast the eggplant to assure a heart-healthy serving.
Cut the eggplant into 1” cubes. Place the cubes in a large bowl salted with about 2 tsp of salt. Allow the eggplant to soak for at least 1 hour, but up to two. Soaking will remove the bitterness of the eggplant.
Heat your oven to 400°F. Lightly brush the pepper with Colavita Olive Oil and place it on a baking tray. Roast for about 25 minutes, turning every so often to blacken the pepper evenly on all sides. The pepper should look charred. When it does, it’s ready. Remove it from the oven and place it in a plastic or paper bag to rest for 10-15 minutes. Once it has cooled, remove it from the bag, peel away the skin and stem and discard the seeds. Coarsely chop the pepper into small chunks. Set aside.
Drain the soaked eggplant cubes and place the on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle the eggplant with 2 tbsp Colavita Olive Oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Roast in a 400°F oven until soft, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a skillet. Add the onions to the skillet. In about 20-30 minutes, the onions will start to turn golden brown. At this point, add the chicken stock and cover the onions. Cook, stirring only OCCASIONALLY until all the liquid has evaporated, at least another 10 minutes.
By this time, the onions should be a deep caramel color. Add 2 tbsp of the Colavita Balsamic Vinegar, and stir to incorporate.
Add the chopped celery and golden raisins to the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Cook about 10 minutes to plump the raisins and just soften the celery (we like ours a bit crunchy).
Add the roasted green pepper, olives, capers and crushed tomatoes to the skillet and mix well. Cook for 10 minutes until simmering.
Stir in the vinegar, sugar, and cocoa powder, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Transfer to bowl with the roasted eggplant, along with basil and pine nuts, and mix together. Season with salt and pepper, and let cool to room temperature before serving.