A Sunday pranzo favourite in my family, this baked pasta is crispy and crunchy at the corners, and smooth, soft and cheesy on the inside.
Pasta al FornoPrint This
- 1 lb (500 g) rigatoni pasta
- ¼ cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 large eggplant, cubed
- 10 large sundried tomatoes
- 2 dried chili flakes (optional)
- 2 cups (500 mL) passata
- Salt, QB
- 1 cup (500 mL) ricotta
- 1 cup (250 mL) shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup (250 mL) smoked scamorza, roughly chopped
- Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, QB
Start making your sauce and pasta at the same time.
Put a large pot of water on to boil. When the water boils, salt it and drop in the pasta. Give it a gentle stir.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the garlic and cook just until it starts to brown. Now add the eggplant, sundried tomatoes, and chili flakes. Let it cook, stirring occasionally so that the eggplant doesn’t stick, until the eggplant gets soft and golden. You may need to add a little more olive oil, but use a very light hand: eggplant is like a sponge and will soak up the oil.
When the eggplant is golden, add the passata and some salt. Let it simmer for 5 or 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
When the pasta is al dente, drain it and put it back in the pot. Then add the sauce to the pasta, along with the ricotta, mozzarella and scamorza, and give it a really good stir.
Pour everything into a lasagna pan. Sprinkle evenly with Parmigiano. Bake for about half an hour or until the sauce is bubbling and the top is slightly crisp around the edges. Take it out of the oven and let it rest for half an hour before serving.
This dish is very forgiving. It’s probably the only time I will tell you that even if you overcook your pasta everything will be okay in the end.