Herby Baked Pasta with Eggplant and Fresh Mozzarella

The only thing that can make pasta tossed with tomato sauce, eggplant and mozzarella better is more mozzarella on top.
Save Recipe
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 5 min (includes resting time)
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 6
Share This Recipe

Ingredients

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

One 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand

One 15-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand

4 large sprigs fresh basil

1 cup chopped fresh basil

1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

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

1 pound dried rigatoni

3 cups diced fresh mozzarella

1 cup grated Parmesan

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden, about 2 minutes. Add both cans of tomatoes and 1 cup water. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat slightly, add the basil sprigs and simmer rapidly, uncovered, until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard the basil sprigs and stir in the chopped basil and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl using a slotted spoon.
  4. Cook the rigatoni 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.
  5. Add the tomato sauce, half of the mozzarella and half of the Parmesan to the bowl and stir well to combine. Transfer the pasta 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.