The Baked Pasta with Eggplants. A fantastic and delicious recipe from the South of Italy.
SERVINGS: Serves 2
- 3 medium eggplants
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- One large jar of tomato sauce or peeled tomatoes
- 3 large basil leaves
- 500 grams of short pasta like penne, rigatoni, or fusilli
- One medium ball of mozzarella
- Equal size ball of provola or your favorite mild, meltable cheese
- Flour (optional)
- Olive oil
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Cut eggplant into bite-sized chunks, place in strainer, and salt well.
- Let sit for about an hour.
- If you prefer to peel your eggplants, you can; I’ve made this both ways, and it didn’t make a difference to me.
- In the meantime, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and then add garlic.
- Remove garlic and add tomatoes and let simmer for about a half hour. Adjust for salt and stir in torn basil leaves.
- Remove sauce from heat, cover, and set aside.
- Start heating water for pasta, and preheat oven to 390°F/200°C.
- Rinse eggplant in strainer, pat dry, and then dredge each piece in flour (optional — I’ve since done this without flour, and noticed no difference).
- Fry in a pan of hot oil (I use last year’s olive oil).
- Remove when just brown, and let drain on paper towels.
- When water is boiling, add salt and pasta, and let cook for about half the suggested cooking time listed on the package. Strain pasta and return it to the pot.
- Stir just enough sauce into the pasta to keep it from sticking to one another.
- Cover the bottom of a baking dish with a thin layer of sauce and then add half the pasta.
- Sprinkle in half the cheese and the eggplant.
- Top with more sauce and then add the rest of the pasta, then the cheese and then some more sauce.
- Grate some parmesan on top for good measure.
- Cover with foil, put in oven, and bake for 20 minutes or until pasta is done.
- Let cool for a few minutes before serving, but not too long–you want that mozzarella nice and fresh and stringy when served.