To streamline preparation, the same oven proof fry pan can be used for sauteing the vegetables and sausages on the stove top and then baking the pasta dish in the oven.
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 19 oz pkg Johnsonville® Sweet Italian Sausage, casings removed (can use mild or hot sausage)
- 1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 med onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 28 oz can crushed plum tomatoes
- 4 cups ziti, cooked al dente
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/3 cup chopped kalamata olives
- 2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and rinse in cold water, cover and set aside.
Position a rack in the upper third of an oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
In a 12" nonstick fry pan. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium heat. Add decased sausage and cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink and cooked through about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl
Using the same pan, heat 4 teaspoons of the olive oil. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and the edges are starting to brown, about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to the bowl with the sausage.
Set the same pan over medium heat and warm the remaining 2 tsp olive oil. Add the onion and cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up any brown bits. Cook until the liquid is almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the can of crushed tomatoes and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.
In the bowl with the eggplant and sausage, add the cooked pasta, basil, olives, 2 cups of the mozzarella and the tomato sauce and mix to combine; season with salt and pepper.
Transfer this mixture to a 9X13" lightly oiled baking dish (or the oven proof 12 inch fry pan). Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of mozzarella and the parmesan cheese on top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and broil for 2-4 minutes, keeping a close eye, until the cheese is lightly golden.