Friday, October 3, 2008

Eggplant Marinara Pasta Casserole


Eggplant Marinara Pasta Casserole

From: Elizabeth's Edible Experience

6 cups Eggplant (about 1 lb.) cubed in 1/2" pieces
1 1/2 tsps. kosher salt, divided
Cooking spray
1 ounce pancetta, chopped
2 cups thinly sliced onion
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 Tbs. fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 lb. uncooked penne
1 cup shredded mozzarella (original recipe called for fontina but I was feeling cheap)
1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange eggplant on several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle eggplant with 1 tsp. kosher salt and let stand 15 minutes. Pat dry with additional paper towels. Arrange eggplant in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring after 15 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and cool.

Cook pancetta in a dutch oven (or if your like me, a large frying pan) over medium heat until crisp. Add onion, oil and garlic to pan and cook for 6 minutes or until onion is lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add wine to the pan and cook until liquid evaporates, scraping pan to loosen bowned bits. Stir in basil, oregano, remaining 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, pepper, and diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; partially cover and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in eggplant.

Cook pasta and drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water. Add pasta and reserved water to tomato mixture, stir well. Spoon pasta mixture into a 9x13 baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with the mozzarella. Pulse the parmesan in a food processor about 5 times. Mix parmesan and your bread crumbs; sprinkle over top of the mozzarella.

Bake for 12 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.

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