A fantastic and delicious recipe from the South of Italy.
- 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.
1. If you prefer to peel your eggplants, you can; I’ve made this both ways, and it didn’t make a difference to me.
2. In the meantime, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan and then add garlic.
3. Remove garlic and add tomatoes and let simmer for about a half hour. Adjust for salt and stir in torn basil leaves.
4. Remove sauce from heat, cover, and set aside.
5. Start heating water for pasta, and preheat oven to 390°F/200°C.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Stir just enough sauce into the pasta to keep it from sticking to one another.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. Cover with foil, put in oven, and bake for 20 minutes or until pasta is done.
12. Let cool for a few minutes before serving, but not too long–you want that mozzarella nice and fresh and stringy when served.