Eggplant and Pasta Charlotte

(2 votes)

<b>Tomato Sauce:</b>
1 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cans tomatoes, (14-ounce)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup red wine, vegetable broth or water
salt
freshly ground black pepper
<b>Charlotte:</b>
2 eggplants (about 1 pound total)
salt
olive oil
14 ounces rigatoni
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated aged cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon dried oregano
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs

<b>Tomato Sauce:</b>
Sauté onion, celery and carrot in oil in medium saucepan until soft but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, basil, oregano, bay leaf and wine. Cook gently, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have reduced to puree, about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf, then puree sauce in blender or food processor. Season to taste with salt and pepper. More liquid can be added if thinner sauce is desired.

<b>Charlotte:</b>
Slice eggplants diagonally into 1/4-inch slices. Place eggplant in colander and sprinkle each layer generously with salt. Place weight (like pot cover) over eggplant and let drain 30 minutes. Rinse and drain well, squeezing gently to remove excess liquid, and pat dry. Sauté eggplant slices in skillet with little olive oil until soft and lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Drain well on paper towels. Cook rigatoni in large pot of boiling water until almost done; it should be a bit undercooked. Drain well, then return pasta to pot with 2 tablespoons tomato Sauce and mix well. Melt butter in remaining tomato Sauce. Pour sauce over rigatoni and mix together with mozzarella, parmesan and Cheddar cheeses. Add oregano and salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange eggplant slices over base and sides of 8-inch-round springform pan brushed with olive oil Make sure slices in base of pan radiate attractively from center and that all gaps are filled. Spoon pasta mixture into pan, press down lightly and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake at 375 degrees 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let charlotte stand 15 minutes to settle and allow flavors to develop. Slip knife around edges of pan and turn charlotte out onto warmed serving dish. Press any fallen eggplant slices back in place and serve immediately.

6 main-course, 8 appetizer servings.


Comments:

This took along time to prepare. l'll let you know if it is worth it.
KBC, NC


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