Baked Maccheroni Layered with Eggplant and Smoked Mozzarella

Maccheroni al Forno alla Rustica

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

Appears in

The Classic Pasta Cookbook

The Classic Pasta Cookbook

By Giuliano Hazan

Published 1993

  • About

This is a sumptuous and satisfying dish that can easily be a one-course meal. Italian maccheroni are not the elbow kind you’ll find in packaged mac and cheese. Their shape is similar to a small rigatoni. In fact, rigatoni would make a very good substitute.

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil, enough to come ½” up the side of a 10-inch skillet
  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise ¼” thick
  • Salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ cups canned whole peeled tomatoes with their juice, coarsely chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound maccheroni
  • ¼ cup parmigiano-reggiano, freshly grated
  • 4 ounces smoked mozzarella, sliced very thin

Method

  1. Pour enough vegetable oil in a 10-inch skillet to come ½-inch up the sides and place over high heat. Carefully slip in as many slices of eggplant as will comfortably fit in the pan. When the bottom has turned a golden brown turn the slices over. When both sides have browned transfer the eggplant to a platter covered with paper towels. Continue frying until all the eggplant is done. Sprinkle with salt.
  2. Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, cover, and place over high heat.
  3. Put the butter and onion in another 10-inch skillet and place over medium heat. Season lightly with salt and cook until the onion becomes a rich golden color. Add the tomatoes, season them salt and pepper and cook until the tomatoes are no longer watery and have separated from the butter, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling pasta water, add the maccheroni, and stir well. Cook until al dente. When the pasta is done, drain well, toss with the sauce and the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
  6. Smear the bottom of a baking dish with butter and pour half the pasta into the dish spreading it out evenly. Cover it with the eggplant and half of the cheese slices. Spread the remaining pasta over it and cover with the remaining cheese slices. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until the top has formed a nice crust. Remove from the oven and allow the dish to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

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