In Season: Cheesy Vegetarian Eggplant Pasta Bake

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It could very well be the nesting instinct in me that is pushing me to prepare and freeze food. I’ve been racking my brain for easy make ahead meals.

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This one makes on large 9 x 13 casserole tray or several smaller individually portioned ones.

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Roasted Eggplant Pasta Bake

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 eggplant, trimmed and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried pepper flakes
  • 1 sprig basil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 lb tubular pasta
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 28 oz. tin chopped tomatoes
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/4 Tbsp grated parmesan
  • 2 cups shredded gouda
  • 3/4 cup shredded asiago

Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss the cubed eggplant and 2 Tbsp olive oil with some salt and pepper and arrange in a single layer on a baking tray. Roast for 25-30 minutes until edges are golden brown.

In the meantime, heat the remaining oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the garlic, and onion. Sweat out the onions and garlic for 5 minutes until translucent. Add the oregano, pepper flakes, basil, bay leaves, pasta, tomato paste and the tomatoes. Keep the tin and add one full container of water or stock to the pot. This will look like a lot of liquid but the pasta will absorb the liquid as it cooks. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook on low heat until the pasta is just barely al dente as it will continue to cook. Depending on the dimensions of your pot, you may need to add a bit more liquid and you can do so if you find the sauce to be too dry or thick. Fish out the bay leaves and the basil.

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Stir in the cream cheese, parmesan as well as eggplant and stir through. The pasta should be saucy to ensure it doesn’t dry out as it bakes and the pasta continues to cook. Adjust for seasoning and scrape the pasta into a prepared casserole dish (fits one 13×9 inch dish).

In a large bowl, mix the gouda and the asiago. Scatter the cheese mixture over the pasta to form a nice thick layer. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes until the cheese has melted. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 until the cheese has browned.

I divided my pasta across several individually portioned casserole dishes and froze them. To bake, defrost overnight in the fridge or for a few hours on the countertop before baking off.

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