Grilled Eggplant Parm Pasta Bake
Cozy & Comforting
Three Farm Daughters
Love Eggplant Parmesan, but not all the hard work that's required breading, frying and layering it all? This luxurious, layered vegetarian casserole is a complete meal in one dish, making easy work of this Italian classic - with a twist!
Elegant eggplant slices take on a smoky, delicious flavor with a quick flash in a griddle pan, imparting attractive chargrill marks and ditching any heaviness you might expect from your favorite restaurant's fried parm dinner. Next, it's layered into a cozy casserole with zesty marinara sauce over a deliciously chewy pasta base, making for one oozy, cheesy, easy-serve dish for a crowd - no fussy pasta sides required!
Make your next celebration a real treat with this simple, lightened-up version of parmigiana melanzane - We bet you'll never make it any other way again!
2 lbs Eggplant, sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
1½ tsp Garlic Salt
4 cups Marinara Sauce, homemade or best-quality store-bought
1½ cups shredded Mozzarella
¾ cup finely grated Parmesan
½ cup fresh Basil, shredded, plus extra leaves to garnish
2 large balls Burrata Cheese
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil for the pasta, and grease a large, deep lasagna-style casserole dish.
Using a large serrated knife, slice the eggplants into thin ¼ inch rounds and transfer to a colander set over the kitchen sink.
Next, salt the eggplant slices to draw out any excess moisture and neutralize any bitterness. Simply scatter the garlic salt liberally over the eggplant slices in the colander and allow it to sit for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and pour the cooked pasta into your greased baking dish, then set aside to stay warm while you prepare the eggplant.
Heat a griddle pan, large frypan, barbecue grill or broiler on high heat.
While the pan is heating up, remove the salted eggplant from the colander and transfer to a clean dish towel or layer of paper towels on your countertop. Pat the slices dry to remove any excess moisture.
Brush the preheated grill pan with a little olive oil (or brush the eggplant slices with oil if using a broiler). Working in batches, grill the eggplant slices until tender, around 4-6 mins per side.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.
To assemble the dish, spread ⅓ of the marinara sauce over the pasta layer in the base of your large greased casserole dish. Arrange ½ the grilled eggplant slices over the top, then another ⅓ layer of marinara. Sprinkle half the shredded mozzarella, parmesan and fresh basil over. Repeat the layers, using up all the eggplant and marinara, and finishing with the cheeses on top.
Cover the baking dish loosely with foil and bake for 30 mins, then remove the foil and continue baking for a further 15-20 mins, until top is golden and bubbly. Allow to cool for 10 mins before serving.
To finish, tear the burrata cheese over the top of the dish and scatter with reserved basil leaves. Serve with crusty bread and a crisp green salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.