By Nancy Caivano
1 lb pasta (I prefer rigatoni with this dish,
but any pasta shape will work)
4 tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
or 1 tbsp jar chopped garlic)
1 onion, chopped
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 large eggplant, peeled and diced
1 lb mushrooms, chopped (variety your preference,
a combination works very well)
10 plum or 6 vine ripe tomatoes, diced
1 (12-oz) can tomato purée
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup basil, julienne
Salt and Pepper
3 tbsp butter
1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated provolone cheese
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until almost al dente, taking 5 minutes off of package cooking time; drain.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion and red pepper flakes. Cook until onion just begins to brown. Add eggplant and mushrooms and cook until eggplant releases its liquid, the liquid evaporates, and the eggplant turns golden brown. Add tomatoes and tomato purée and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 40 minutes. Add half of the parsley, the basil and season with salt and pepper. Cook 10 minutes longer. Remove from heat and stir in butter.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees, and spray a large baking pan well with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine pasta with tomato-eggplant mixture and combine well. Add 3/4 cup of each cheese and toss well to combine. Pour mixture into prepared baking pan. Top with remaining cheeses and reserved parsley. Bake in the oven about 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.
This dish freezes very well. Follow all steps until ready to bake. Cover with both plastic wrap and aluminum foil. When ready to serve, remove plastic wrap and recover with foil. Bake at 300 degrees until a knife is easily inserted. Remove cover, raise heat to 450 degrees and bake as above. You can also make it up to 3 days ahead of time and store in the refrigerator covered very well with foil. Remove foil before baking as above.
This page created November 1999
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