Tired of you old all meat Baked Pasta Recipe? During yesterdays Chef Jill’s Cooking Demo at the Maya Kithen – She shared a delightful and healthy addition to the usual boring, baked pasta recipes with the use of…. Eggplant! Surprising much? If you really hate eggplants then you can try using a variety of grilled vegetables such as zucchini, carrots and broccoli to add a bit of zing to some of your typical pasta concoctions.
Baked Penne with Egplant and Sausage
If you dont have a grilling pan, you can use a non-stick pan but since vegetables cook quickly, make sure not to leave them unattended on the grill.
When Baking pasta, I learned from Chef Jill that we need not to put excessive sauce before baking to assure that the pasta is still “al dente” after baking.. Hmmm makes sense:)
Preparing the Pasta
We always thought cooking pasta is easy but be sure to always check the cooking instructions at the back of the packaging. Remember various pasta brands has different cooking instructions:)
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking/Baking Time: 1 to 1½ hours
- 1 box penne rigate, about 225 grams
- 1/3 cup pure olive oil
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans whole peeled tomatoes, about 800 grams
- 1 teaspoon Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
- Lea and Perrins Hot pepper Sauce, to taste
- 10 to 12 fresh basil leaves
- salt, to taste
- 5 pieces eggplants, about 400 grams
- 2 cups sliced garlic sausage, about 450 grams
- vegetable or corn oil, for cooking the sausage
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, about 200 grams
- ½ cups grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly Baked Penne with Eggplant and Sausage
1. Cook penne according to package directions. Set aside.
2. In a pan, sauté the onion and celery in ¼ cup olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add the whole peeled tomatoes, Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, and Lea and Perrins Hot Pepper Sauce. Simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Add the basil leaves and season with salt.
3. Slice the eggplants diagonally, about ¼-inch thick. Season with salt and lay in a single layer on a paper towel-lined tray. Set aside to drain for 30 minutes then grill until slightly softened. Set aside.
4. In a sauté pan, cook the sausage in a little oil until golden brown.
5. In a bowl, toss together cooked pasta, tomato sauce, grilled eggplant and garlic sausage.
6. To assemble, grease a 2-quart baking dish with the remaining olive oil. Place half of the pasta mixture into prepared dish. Top with half of mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 25 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and bake uncovered for another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cool slightly then serve with toasted or garlic bread.
Chef’s Tips: You may substitute the penne with macaroni, ziti, spaghetti or farfalle.
“Molto al dente” means “just beneath al dente”. Cooking the penne beneath the ”al dente” stage will ensure that the pasta is “al dente” when it comes out of the oven.
This cooking demo was made possible by The Maya Kitchen and Lea and Perrins Seasonings. Thanks Mucho!!
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