Ina Garten’s Baked Pasta with Tomatoes and Eggplant
Ina Garten loves “twofers.” Make something for dinner one night, and then turn it into something completely different the next.
Baked pasta with tomatoes and eggplant from Cook Like a Pro: Recipes & Tips for Home Cooks is one of those recipes. Whip up tomato and eggplant soup, then use the leftovers as pasta sauce. Pretty darn brilliant.
Don’t have individual ramekins? Garten has a pro tip: “You can bake this pasta in one larger dish, but making individual gratins looks so much more professional.” Go ahead, do it for the ’gram.
Oh, and she calls for two different kinds of pasta. Not only do they add great texture, but you can use up the leftover boxes of pasta in your pantry. Ina, you’ve thought of everything.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces penne rigate and/or fusilli
3 cups Tomato & Eggplant Soup
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, medium diced
5 tablespoons freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, small diced
1. Preheat the oven to 500°F. (Make sure your oven is clean!) Place three 6-inch gratin dishes on a sheet pan and set aside.
2. Boil a large pot of water, add a tablespoon of salt and then add the pasta. If you’re using one type of pasta, cook it for 1 to 2 minutes less than the directions on the package. If you’re using two kinds of pasta, start with the one that cooks longer and add the second later so they finish at the same time. You want the pasta to be quite al dente. Drain.
3. Pour the soup into a large bowl, add the cooked pasta, the mozzarella, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, 1½ teaspoons salt and ¾ teaspoon pepper; toss well. Divide the mixture evenly among the three gratin dishes, dot the tops with the butter and bake until hot and bubbly and the pasta begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle each dish with 1 tablespoon of the remaining Parmesan, bake for another 4 minutes and serve hot.