Prep 45 mins
Cook 1 hr
From his book "Emeril's Potluck, Comfort Food with a Kicked Up Attitude".
- 1 large eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/3 inch thick rounds
- 1⁄2 cup olive oil, plus
- more olive oil, as needed
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 lb Italian sausage, removed from casings
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (28 ounce) canwhole Italian tomatoes, crushed, and their juices
- 1 teaspoon Italian spices
- 1⁄2 cup pitted black olives, coarsely chopped
- 1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1⁄4 cup minced fresh basil leaf
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1⁄8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1⁄2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 8 ounces ziti pasta, cooked according to package directions and drained
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Lightly grease a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish and set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1/4 cup of the oil.
- Add the eggplant in batches, seasoning on both sides with salt and pepper, and cook until golden, adding more oil as needed.
- Transfer to a plate as they cook, and set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- When hot but not smoking, add the onion and sausage, and cook, stirring, until the sausage is browned and the onion is soft, about 6 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently, until it begins to brown, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, their juices, the Italian seasoning, black olives, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the crushed red pepper.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer, uncovered, until the flavors marry and the sauce slightly thickens, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat.
- Add the basil and adjust seasoning, to taste.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and forms a light roux, about 2 minutes.
- Whisk in the milk and, whisking frequently, cook until the sauce is thickened and smooth, about 4 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and season with the nutmeg and salt and pepper, to taste.
- Arrange half of the eggplant slices on the bottom of the casserole, overlapping as necessary.
- Top with half of the cooked pasta, then half of the sausage-tomato sauce.
- Place another layer of eggplant slices on top of the sauce, then layers of pasta and sausage-tomato sauce.
- Pour on the white sauce, then top with the grated mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Bake for 1 hour, or until puffed and golden brown on top.
I would give this a 4 but DH loved it so that is 5 stars in my book. The only changes I made were adding garlic to the sausage and used 1 cup 1/2 and 1/2 and 1 cup fat-free milk. This pasta has a very creamy texture. IMO, you could leave out the white sauce and still have a great dish. I do not think you will lose any flavor. In a pinch you could use spaghetti sauce as PaulaG did. The prep time was longer than 45 minutes but then I read over the instructions about a billion times while cooking. Thanks for the great dish:)
I have to agree with everyone else, this is an outstanding dish. The sliced eggplant was sprinkled with Cajun seasoning before frying. I did cheat and used a jar sauce to cut down on the cooking time. Something I will have to keep in reserve to make again. Thanks so much for sharing.
this is a 10-star recipe, I used tomatoes from my garden with a little tomato juice, did a few amount adjustments, and use half and half cream, this recipe will go into my favorites and I look forward to serving this to my guests, thank you for posting this wonderful recipe Tina...Kitten:)