Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Adventures with Eggplant

The computer issue has yet to be resolved, but I was able to get a few pictures of tonight's dinner uploaded.

There has been somewhat of a chill in the air in recent days here in Minneapolis. So, when browsing through options for the eggplant that came in this week's CSA, a baked pasta seemed apt. Rather than measuring the precise amounts of olive oil, cheese, and tomato sauce, I prefer to eyeball it. It saves time and dishes!

Baked Penne with Eggplant- Pasta alla Norma
Adapted from Molto Italiano, by Mario Batali

2 pounds small to medium eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound penne or other short pasta
2 cups tomato sauce (jarred is fine... and faster!)
1 cup toasted breadcrumbs
1/2 Italian cheese, such as grated Pecorino Romano, Parmesan, Grana Padano, or a preshredded cheese blend
10 fresh basil leaves, rough torn, or leaves from several fresh oregano sprigs
Extra cheese for grating

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-by-12-inch baking pan with olive oil.

Bring salted water to boil for pasta. Cook pasta two minutes short of package directions, drain, and rinse with cold water. Drain well, return to saucepan, and toss with one cup of pasta sauce.

While the pasta is cooking, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Season the eggplant slices with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Layer as follows:
1/4 cup tomato sauce
Half of the breadcrumbs
Half of the pasta
Half of the eggplant slices
1/4 cheese
Half of the cheese and basil or oregano
Remaining pasta
Remaining eggplant
Remaining sauce
Remaining cheese and basil or oregano
Remaining breadcrumbs
Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil

Bake for 45 minutes then let rest for 10 minutes. If the cheese and breadcrumbs brown too quickly, cover with foil. Plate up, grate cheese over each portion, and enjoy!

5 comments:

Tracey said...

I've been scouring the internet for eggplant ideas today and this one caught my eye on Tastespotting. It's perfect! Looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing :)

Gina said...

That looks delicious! I think we will make it this week! :)

kar said...

Tracey: What perfect timing! You should really thank the Minnesota weather for having eggplant ready for this week. I hope you enjoy the dish!

Gina: Hey! Thanks for commenting. You'll have to let me know how your pasta turns out!

Anonymous said...

who put the egg in eggplant?

sincerely,

neil tafelmeyer ;-)

Alex said...

This recipe looks delicious! I'm a fellow student (undergrad), and this is perfect for a budget-friendly meal.

I just started my blog, Collegiate Foodie..please help me spread the word!

Thanks :-)