Prep 40 mins
Cook 2 hrs 30 mins
Also known as Pasticcio di Maccheroni con le Melanzane, based on Diane Seed's recipe from her book, The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces. This casserole is a bit of work, but definitely worth it!
- 1 lb farfalle pasta (or other short pasta)
- 3 large aubergines (or 5 medium)
- 1 cup olive oil
- 10 ounces mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 (14 ounce) cans Italian plum tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- salt and pepper
- Slice off both ends from the aubergines and discard.
- Slice the aubergines thinly.
- Arrange the slices in layers on a cutting board, sprinkling each layer with salt.
- Place the cutting board on a draining board, raised and supported on one side so that any liquid resulting from the purging process will drain into the sink. Then cover the slices of aubergine with a heavy weight (e.g., a large saucepan full of water) and leave for a couple of hours.
- During this time a somewhat bitter liquid will drain from the aubergines -- this is the purging process, as it's referred to in Italy.
- After 2 hours rinse the slices and pat dry. Lightly flour the slices to prevent them from absorbing too much oil when they are fried.
- While the aubergines are 'purging' prepare the tomato sauce.
- Heat the oil in a frypan and gently fry the chopped onion and garlic until softened.
- Add the tomatoes with their liquid, sugar, salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste and cook on high, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
- When the sauce is reduced and thick, check the seasoning.
- Using a blender or food processor, puree the sauce.
- Start the water boiling for the pasta in a large pot.
- While the water is heating, fry the aubergine slices in hot olive oil, using plenty of oil and frying only a few slices at a time. Do not let the slices become too crisp. Drain each batch on paper towels and keep warm.
- Add salt and a few drops of oil (helps prevent the pasta from sticking together) to the boiling water and cook the pasta. Cook the pasta for only half the time stated in the directions as it will continue cooking during the baking process.
- Drain the pasta, toss with some butter, and add the tomato sauce, mixing well.
- Butter a deep ovenproof serving dish and spread a thin layer of pasta on the bottom.
- Cover this with a layer of the aubergine slices, and cover these slices with thin slices of mozzarella.
- Repeat these layers until you have used up all the ingredients, ending with a final layer of mozzarella.
- Dot the top with butter and bake at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes until melted and golden brown.
YUM!! Except 10 oz mozz wasn't nearly enough, imho. ;) We LOVED this. I didn't fry the eggplant (lazy) but instead roasted the slices in a hot oven. It worked very well. I had an 8oz ball of mozzerella & as thin as I sliced it, I barely had enough for 1 layer plus the top. I will definitely double the cheese next time. The kids fought over the leftovers. :) Made for the 9/08 Vegetarian Swap.