Peel and cut the eggplant into cubes. Cut a quarter of the peel into thin strips. Set aside.
In a colander over a bowl, combine the cubed eggplant and the salt. Place a bowl filled with water over the eggplant as a weight. Let drain for 20 minutes. Press with your hands to drain thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.
In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and oil lightly. Set 125 ml (½ cup) of the cooking water aside.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, flour the diced eggplant. Set aside. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
In a large saucepan, heat 1-cm (½-inch) of oil. Fry the eggplant julienne for 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp. Drain on the baking sheet.
Fry the cubed eggplant, a third at a time, until golden brown. Drain on the baking sheet. Discard the oil. Keep 125 ml (½ cup) of the fried eggplant for garnish.
In the same pan, brown the onion in 30 ml (2 tablespoons) of oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the fried eggplant, pasta, and basil. Heat through, stirring to coat the pasta. Add cooking water, if needed. Adjust the seasoning.
Pour into a large serving dish. Top with the cheese, reserved eggplant cubes and julienne eggplant.
You can replace the pressed ricotta by scoops of fresh ricotta. You can find pressed ricotta in cheese shops or Italian grocery stores.
Recipes with the "Healthy Pick" stamp have been evaluated by a registered dietitian member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec.