Rigatoni Al Forno
with Roasted Eggplant, Fresh Mozzarella, and Basil
Oven-baked pasta (pasta al forno) is Italian comfort food at its finest. Even if you don’t have a Nonna, you can still appreciate the nostalgic warmth this dish brings to the table. Gooey mozzarella makes this dish irresistible.
Produced in a facility that processes eggs, milk, fish, peanuts, sesame, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat.
Not included in your delivery
Wash and dry all produce. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bring a large pot of water with a large pinch of salt to a boil. Cut the eggplant into ½-inch cubes. Core, seed, and dice the tomatoes. Halve, peel, and dice the onion. Mince or grate the garlic.
Cook the eggplant and rigatoni: Toss the eggplant on a baking sheet with a large drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place in the oven for about 25 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking, until soft and golden brown. Add the rigatoni to the boiling water and cook for 9-10 minutes, until al dente. Drain, reserving ¼ cup pasta water.
While the pasta cooks, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a tall-sided, oven safe pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, tossing for 4-5 minutes, until soft. Add the tomatoes and ½ cup water and cook, breaking up the tomatoes, for 1-2 minutes. Cover the pan and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are completely broken down into a sauce, for about 4-5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Finely chop the basil leaves. Cut the mozzarella cheese into ½-inch cubes. In a small bowl, combine the panko, parmesan, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
When the eggplant is done, heat the broiler to high or the oven to 500 degrees. Toss the eggplant into the sauce along with the rigatoni, mozzarella cheese, and half the basil. Add a splash of pasta water, if necessary, to loosen the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Broil and serve: Sprinkle the pan with the panko mixture and transfer to the oven to broil for 1-2 minutes (don’t take your eyes off it!), until golden brown and the mozzarella cheese is melted. TIP: If you don’t have an oven safe pan, transfer the meal to a baking dish before putting in the oven! When finished, sprinkle the pan with the remaining basil and enjoy!