Eggplant pasta bake
- Difficulty: Easy
- Prep time: 30 min
- Cook time: 30 min
- Serving: 8 people
- Cost: Low
Baked pasta: the very embodiment of comfort food! Steaming, gooey, and satisfying… Today we are going to talk about a summery version: eggplant pasta bake. This eggplant-based first course will leave your guests speechless: The creaminess of the béchamel sauce prepared with sun-dried tomatoes will add a special punch and wonderful creaminess to the pasta, covered in thin slices of fried eggplant. You too can experience this taste sensation in your quest for the ideal eggplant pasta bake!
If you love this kind of dish, check out our recipes for baked anelletti or ziti, too.
- Fusilli pasta 1 lb (400 g)
- Eggplant 1.3 lbs (600 g)
- Provolone cheese ½ lb (250 g)
- Grana Padano DOP cheese ½ cup (60 g)
- Sun-dried tomatoes in oil 2 oz (50 g) - (drained)
- Basil to taste
- For the béchamel sauce
- Whole milk 2 ¼ cups (500 g)
- Butter 3 tbsp (50 g)
- Flour 00 ½ cup (50 g)
- Fine salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- For frying the eggplant
- Vegetable oil to taste
How to prepare Eggplant pasta bake
To make this eggplant pasta bake, start with the béchamel sauce: Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it’s lukewarm. At the same time, melt the butter over low heat 1 in another saucepan. Once melted, add all of the flour at once 2. Whisk together quickly and, once you have a roux, pour in the lukewarm milk in three portions 3.
Cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring with a whisk to prevent lumps 4 without letting the sauce thicken too much 5; set aside and leave to cool. Wash, trim, and then slice the eggplant, using a mandoline if possible, to get slices about ¼ inch (5 mm) thick 6.
Fry a few slices of eggplant at a time in vegetable oil at approximately 340°F (170° C) (measure using a kitchen thermometer) (7-8) and drain on oil-absorbing paper for fried food 9.
Next, heat the water for the pasta and add salt when it reaches a boil. Dice the provolone cheese (10-11), then cook the fusilli until they are al dente 12.
In the meantime, drain and cut the sun-dried tomatoes into small pieces and pour three-quarters into the cooled béchamel sauce 13, season with salt and pepper to taste, then blend it all together using an immersion blender 14. Pour the béchamel sauce with sun-dried tomatoes into a bowl, add the fusilli, which have been cooked al dente and then drained, and stir to combine 15.
Add almost all of the diced provolone 16 and nearly all of Grana Padano cheese 17, reserving 1½ tbsp (10 g). Mix well with a spatula 18.
Arrange the fried eggplant in a baking dish, making sure to line the bottom 19 and lay all the eggplant along the dish so that they overflow slightly 20. Pour the pasta in the sauce over the eggplant, spreading it evenly 21.
Lastly, sprinkle with the remaining Grana Padano cheese 22. Fold the eggplant over the pasta 23 and top with the reserved provolone cheese 24.
Add the remaining sun-dried tomatoes (25-26). Bake in a convection oven preheated to 360°F (180°C) for 12 minutes. Once you’ve taken the eggplant pasta bake out of the oven, you can decorate it with fresh basil leaves 27 before serving it piping hot.
This baked pasta with eggplant can be kept in the fridge for 1-2 days in an airtight container.
It can be frozen if the products you used were fresh, i.e. not defrosted.
You can amp up the flavor with olives, mortadella, and mozzarella… There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to making your baked pasta even more appetizing!
Suggestions and tricks
Can I use smoked scamorza cheese instead of provolone?
The taste won’t be the same, but you can try it!
Can I fry the eggplant the night before?
We don’t recommend it; it’s better to fry them just before arranging them in the baking dish.
How do I bake this in a conventional oven?
We recommend increasing the temperature by 20-40°F (10-20°C) over the recommended temperature for the convection oven and extending the time by about 10 minutes, taking care that it does not burn.