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  Herbed Eggplant Pasta Bake



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1 large Italian eggplant, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon each fennel seeds and dried basil
1 teaspoon each dried oregano and thyme
1/2 teaspoon each granulated garlic, salt and freshly ground black pepper OR red pepper flakes
3 cups of your favorite marinara or spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup water
8 ounces pasta, cooked al dente and drained (try whole wheat penne)
4 ounces smoked mozzarella, shredded

Lightly oil a 2-3 quart oven-proof baking dish.
Heat a large covered pan over medium high heat. Add eggplant to hot, dry pan and stir
until little spots of char or caramelization appear on bottom of pan. Add olive oil, stir to coat
thoroughly and cover pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is softened,
but retains its shape.
Stir in all the spices, cover and cook 3 minutes. Stir in sauce and water. Bring to a boil,
reduce heat, cover and simmer at least 15 minutes. Add pasta and stir until all pasta is coasted
with sauce. Cover and cook 5 minutes.
Pour everything into baking dish. Top with cheese. Bake 30 minutes, until cheese is
melted. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Cover and refrigerate leftovers.

Copyright © 2011 Stefanie Samara Hamblen