More >

Eggplant with Candle Pasta

Candele (candle pasta) is so named because the long tubular shape is reminiscent of the long candle tapers used in religious processions. This is one of those rare instances when the raw pasta is broken into pieces before cooking. Lacking candle pasta, large ziti can be used. This kind of pasta is good for trapping sauce in its hollow interior and is best served with a vegetable-based or ragĂș-based sauce. Serves 4


6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons tomato paste

4 anchovies in olive oil, chopped, or more to taste

1 pound Italian purple eggplant or Japanese eggplant, diced

2 tablespoons capers in brine, drained

8 green olives, chopped, cerignola preferred

One 28-ounce can DOP whole San Marzano tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 pound candle pasta, broken into 2-inch pieces

Grated Pecorino Romano cheese for sprinkling


Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the onion; cook until the onion begins to wilt; then add the garlic and cook a minute longer. Stir in the tomato paste and coat the ingredients well. Add the anchovies and mix in. Add the eggplant, capers and green olives and cook a couple of minutes.

Use your hands to squeeze the tomatoes over the eggplant. Stir the mixture well. Cover and cook about 20 minutes or until the eggplant is soft; add salt and pepper. Cover and keep warm.

Break the candle pasta into about 2 inch pieces. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water and add to the eggplant sauce.

Drain pasta and transfer to eggplant in sauté pan; stir well. Serve with grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

If you cannot find candle pasta in your local grocery store, check the internet for suppliers. is one that offered it when this show was produced.

This recipe is featured on Show 2709 – Light Up Your Taste Buds.


  1. William simoni's avatar

    William simoni

    Looked on line for candle pasta what is brand name thank you
  2. Raymond Charry's avatar

    Raymond Charry

    This is a delicious dish - especially suited for summer when ingredients are fresh. Candle pasta can be obtained through a website called " Yummy Bazaar". The long candle. pasta is a little difficult to work with unless you have a buzz saw- so purchase the 2 inch type which is absolutely the same.

Leave a Comment

Looking for even more photos and recipes?
Order my latest book.

Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy

Mary Ann's newest book contains over 150 recipes, 60 gorgeous food photos, and many scenic pictures of Italy taken by Mary Ann on her travels through the years.

Order using this link and receive a signed book plate.

Available now!