All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016
To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.
All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option. Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out. It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing. The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.
This is rich & comforting & easy to make. I made the sauce but you could use a jar of your favorite kind. I used real cheese – you can use a vegan alternative – or even omit it. If you go with no cheese – there is no reason to bake it & you can serve it right from the stove top. The real key to this is grilling the eggplant – to get rid of that texture & add a smokiness that adds to the autumnal flavors of this dish.
Baked Vegetarian Penna Pasta alla Siciliana with Smoked Mozzarella & Grilled Eggplant
Serve 4 well
1 lb dry pasta
1 eggplant – sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
28 oz chopped tomatoes
6-10 cherry tomatoes – quartered (optional)
1-6 garlic cloves (to taste) – chopped
8 oz smoked mozzarella – grated
1 cup regular (or more smoked) mozzarella – grated
1 tsp – 1 TBS crushed red pepper (to taste)
1 tsp oregano
1/4 cup fresh parsley – chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil – chopped
Garnish: more grated cheese (Parmesan or Asiago), chopped fresh basil or parsley
Heat the oven (if you are using cheese) to 350 degrees.
Cook & drain the pasta.
Either brush the eggplant with olive oil r spray with cooking spray & grill (or a grill or grill pan) – for a few minutes on each side until they are nicely grilled. Cool & chop.
Heat a TBS or so of olive oil in a stock pan. When hot – add the garlic & cook one minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, crushed red pepper, oregano, cherry tomatoes, eggplant, basil & parsley. Cook on low for a while until it thickens & the flavors meld. Maybe 20 minutes or so. Add the cooked pasta & toss. If not using cheese – serve & garnish once it is heated through.
If using cheese – add the 8 oz grated smoked mozzarella & toss. Put it into a greased casserole & top with the remaining cup of grated cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted & bubbling.
Garnish with cheese or herbs & serve!