Wednesday, June 19 2024

Imagine entering an Italian kitchen, where the air is permeated with the unmistakable aroma of fresh basil and freshly made tomato puree.

On the stove, a pot simmers with a fragrant sauce, while a pan filled with baked pasta is ready to be baked.


This recipe for baked pasta with eggplant is a riot of Mediterranean flavors, perfect for a family lunch or dinner with friends.

The sweetness of the browned eggplant pairs perfectly with the rich, velvety tomato sauce, while the stringy mozzarella and crispy mix of grana and breadcrumbs create an irresistible gratin.

Follow these simple steps to bring to the table a dish that will win over all diners with its authentic taste and rustic simplicity.

 

 

SERVINGS:6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 eggplants
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Salt to tast
  • 2 cups tomato puree (passata)
  • Fresh basil leaves to taste
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano or Grana Padano cheese
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 8 oz (about 2 cups) mozzarella cheese
  • 1 lb short pasta (penne, rigatoni, etc.)

 

METHOD:

Preparing the eggplant:

Cut eggplant into cubes and place in a colander.

Sprinkle with salt and let stand for about 30 minutes to draw out the bitter moisture.

After 30 minutes, squeeze the eggplant cubes well to remove excess water.

In a frying pan, heat some oil and saute the eggplant cubes until they are golden brown and tender. Set aside.

Prepare the sauce:

In a saucepan, heat the oil and add the finely chopped onion. Sauté until the onion becomes translucent.

Add the tomato puree and a few fresh basil leaves.

Let the sauce cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should not reduce too much.

Prepare the cheese and breadcrumb mixture:

In a bowl, mix equal parts grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese and breadcrumbs.

Combine the ingredients:

Once the tomato sauce is ready, add the sautéed eggplant and the cheese and breadcrumb mixture.

Mix well.

Cook the pasta:

Cook the short pasta in plenty of salted water until al dente.

Drain the pasta and toss with half of the prepared sauce.

Assembling the dish:

In a large baking dish, distribute the pasta mixed with the sauce.
Top with the remaining sauce, diced mozzarella, a few fresh basil leaves and a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese.

Baking:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Bake the dish for about 20-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crispy.

Serving:

Remove the baked pasta from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
Enjoy your delicious baked pasta with eggplant!

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