I am a pasta-holic. Along with coffee and wine, pasta is one of my top vices – most definitely. So, I try to make it only once (okay, maybe twice) per week, and as healthy as I can. That said, here is my take on an easy casserole style pasta dish that is loaded with flavour and other than some fat from the cheese (which is good in my books), it’s a healthy way to add some fibre, veggies, and cozy-food goodness into your day. And oh yes, this pairs deliciously well with a gorgeous Pinot Noir!!!
2 cups whole wheat penne pasta
2 medium eggplants, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices
salt (to sprinkle)
1 TBSP olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2 + 3/4 cups tomato sauce
6 Roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup basil pesto
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, grated
1) Cook pasta in boiling salted water for 8-10 min, until tender but firm, then drain and return to same saucepan. Set aside.
2) Meanwhile, sprinkle both sides of eggplant slices with salt, and place on wire rack set on a baking sheet.
3) Let eggplant stand for about 15-20 min, then rinse with cold water and blot dry (tea-towel or paper-towels will do).
4) Brush both sides of eggplant slices lightly with olive oil, and cook eggplant on greased grill or BBQ for 2-3 min per side until golden.
5) Transfer grilled eggplant to cutting board or large plate, and cut into 1 inch pieces, then add to pasta.
6) Heat olive oil in small frying pan on medium – add onion and cook for 5-10 min (stirring often) until softened.
7) Add onion to pasta, stir, then add tomato sauce, Roma tomatoes, basil pesto and stir again.
8] Transfer everything into greased 3 quart casserole dish (bust out the Le Crueset!!!), sprinkle with both cheeses and bake uncovered, in 350°F oven for 30-40 min until heated through and cheese is bubbly and golden.
9) Let stand for 5 min before serving – then enjoy!!