cheesy eggplant and rigatoni
- 1- pound rigatoni
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium eggplants about 1 1/2 pounds total, cut into 1-inch pieces
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 small yellow onion thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, juices reserved
- 1 cup lightly packed grated parmesan about 2 ounces
- 4 cups grated fresh mozzarella about 1 pound
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves torn, plus additional for serving
heat oven to 375 degrees.
cook rigatoni according to package instructions but keep it slightly more al dente.
reserve 1 1/2 cups pasta cooking water.
heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, oven-proof skillet over medium.
add the eggplant, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until golden brown on all sides, 9 to 10 minutes.
add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in the skillet over medium.
add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.
stir in red-pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper.
add tomatoes and their juices, crushing the tomatoes with your hands as you add them.
cook until the tomatoes are very soft, about 5 minutes. stir in the reserved pasta cooking water, adding up to 1 1/2 cups as needed to create a silky sauce.
drain the pasta and add it to the eggplant mixture with parmesan, 1 cup mozzarella and 1 cup basil and toss to coat.
top with remaining 3 cups mozzarella and bake until the sauce is bubbling on the sides and the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.