Baked Eggplant and Pancetta Pasta

An easy, cheesy baked pasta -- spiral cavatappi -- with tomato sauce, eggplant and pancetta.
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  • Total: 1 hr 5 min
  • Prep: 15 min
  • Inactive: 10 min
  • Cook: 40 min
  • Yield: 6
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Kosher salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 pound pancetta, diced

1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 pound dried cavatappi

5 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce

3 cups shredded mozzarella

1 cup grated Parmesan


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl using a slotted spoon. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the eggplant to the pancetta drippings and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the pancetta.
  3. Cook the cavatappi in the salted boiling water until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl with the pancetta and eggplant.
  4. Add the marinara, half of the mozzarella and half of the Parmesan to the bowl and stir well to combine. Transfer the pasta mixture to a 3- to 4-quart baking dish and top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, until browned, about 15 minutes. Let the pasta stand about 10 minutes before serving.
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