Baked pasta with eggplant and sun-dried tomatoes sauce

Today I propose a first course of short baked pasta with eggplant sauce and dried tomatoes. It is not a difficult dish, you can (indeed you have to prepare) a little in advance and leave it in the oven to cool down so all the juices are well absorbed by the pasta and the flavors amalgamated.

Ingredients for 4 people:

 350 gr = 12 oz. of short pasta / or GF pasta

 1 large eggplant

120 gr = 1/2 cup of dried tomatoes (alternatively you can use those in oil, but take care to drain them well from the oil)

 150 gr=2/3 cup peeled tomatoes

 230 gr = 1 cup of tomato puree/passata

 50 ml dry white wine (1/4 glass )

 100 gr =3.5 oz mozzarella/ or lactose free or diary free mozzarella

100 gr =3.5 oz grated cheese/ or lactose free or diary free cheese

 1 small white onion

 2 tablespoons chopped celery

2 tablespoons chopped carrot

 1 clove of garlic;

 some fresh basil leaves

 a sprig of fresh oregano or a pinch of dried oregano

olive oil



Soften the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 5-10 minutes.

 Clean the garlic clove, clean the onion and chop finely.

 Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a non-stick pan with high edges, fry the garlic first over moderate heat as soon as it becomes golden, remove it and add the chopped onion, celery and carrot

 Sauté over moderate heat for 1-2 minutes.

Cut the dried tomatoes.

 Wash the eggplant, dry it and cut it into touches of about one centimeter(half inch).

 Add it to the sauté together with the squeezed dried tomatoes and the leaves of aromatic herbs.

Let it color the eggplant pieces on the surface, always over moderate heat, then blend everything with white wine.

. When the alcohol of the wine has evaporated (just a few seconds) add the peeled tomatoes crushed with the tines of a fork and the puree.

Add salt and cook for 15-20 minutes over moderate heat.

While the sauce is cooking, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the short pasta to the boil and cook, then drain it al dente.

 Keep a little pasta cooking water.

Season the pasta with the eggplant sauce that in the meantime will have finished cooking, mix well and, if the pasta is not very moist, add a little cooking water (2-3 tablespoons are enough).

Cut the mozzarella into chunks, add half to the pasta together with half of the grated cheese and mix well.

 Sprinkle with ground pepper. Transfer the pasta to a baking pan and cover with the surface with the remaining mozzarella and cheese.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C/400 °F for about 15 minutes or until a crust has formed on the surface.

Turn off the oven and leave it in for other 10 minutes.

 The pasta can be prepared up to 30-40 minutes before being served and kept in the oven.

As you see we like it quite cruchy.

Serve warm and enjoy your meal!!!