I saw this really yummy looking photo on Instagram the other day, but it didn’t have a recipe link. The photo still made me want to eat it ASAP, so I just decided to wing it. It looked like pasta, sauce, parmesan crusted eggplant, and a bunch of melty cheese on top. I can do that! Edit: just after publishing this post, I clicked through a few links and found the actual recipe associated with that Instagram post. SMH!
Luckily eggplant is usually pretty cheap at my local grocery store, as are pasta and sauce, so I knew I had this one covered. I didn’t use nearly as much melty cheese as the original photo (for health AND cost reasons), but what I was most excited about was the Parmesan crusted eggplant. I made some Eggplant Parmesan waaaaay back when the blog was in its baby years and I still remember how good that stuff was. All the work (which really isn’t that much) of breading and baking the eggplant slices is so worth it.
Overall this Eggplant Parmesan Pasta is pretty simple. I left some of the Parmesan crusted eggplant slices whole to cover the top and stirred the rest into the pasta so you’d get some in every bite. If you don’t care so much about presentation, you could always just stir ALL of the eggplant into the pasta and add the cheese on top. …But let’s be real, that would still look pretty mouth-watering. If you do want it to be a cheesy extravaganza like the Instagram photo, I’d suggest adding a few plops of ricotta and a second cup of shredded mozz to the mix.
Eggplant Parmesan Pasta
Eggplant Parmesan Pasta
- 1 small eggplant (1 lb.) ($1.67)
- 1/2 Tbsp salt ($0.05)
- 1/3 cup flour ($0.05)
- 1 large egg ($0.27)
- 2 Tbsp milk ($0.04)
- 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs ($0.24)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan ($0.31)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
- 8 oz. rigatoni ($0.75)
- 24 oz. pasta sauce ($1.97)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella ($0.75)
- Slice the eggplant into 1/2-inch thick slices. Generously sprinkle salt over the slices and let them sit in a colander for 45-60 minutes. This will pull some of the water and bitterness out of the eggplant. After salting, gently press the slices between paper towels to blot the excess water away.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the slices in a large zip top bag, add the flour, and shake until the slices are coated in flour.
- In a shallow bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. In a second shallow bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and garlic powder. Dip each slice of eggplant into the egg wash first, then in the seasoned breadcrumbs until coated on both sides. Place the breaded slices onto a baking sheet with two wire cooling racks placed on top (to elevate the slices).
- Bake the breaded slices for 25 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. While the slices are baking, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, return it to the pot (with the heat turned off) and add the pasta sauce. Stir to coat.
- Once the eggplant slices are finished baking, reserve a few to top the casserole and cut the remaining slices into 1/2-inch squares. Stir the eggplant squares into the pasta and sauce. Pour the pasta, sauce, and eggplant into a casserole dish or oven safe skillet, then top with the whole eggplant slices and the shredded mozzarella.
- Bake the casserole in the still hot oven until the cheese is melted and the dish is heated through (10-15 minutes). If you prefer the cheese to be browned, place the dish under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until the desired browning has been achieved.
Step by Step Photos
Start by slicing a one pound eggplant into 1/2-inch slices.
Generously salt the eggplant and place the slices in a colander. Let them sit for 45 minutes to an hour. This will draw some of the water and bitter flavor out of the eggplant. Less water = more crispy after breading and baking. After they’ve sat in the salt, gently press them between paper towels to absorb the excess water. The water may be kind of brownish, but that’s normal.
Place the slices into a large zip top bag and add about 1/3 cup flour. Shake the bag to coat the slices in flour. Begin preheating the oven to 425 degrees.
In a shallow bowl, whisk together 1 large egg and 2 Tbsp milk until smooth. In a second shallow bowl, stir together 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, and 1/4 tsp garlic powder. Dip the floured eggplant slices first in the egg wash, then in the bread crumb mixture until coated.
Place the breaded slices on a baking sheet with two wire cooling racks sitting on top of it. The racks elevate the slices so the under side gets crispy, just like the top. If you don’t have wire racks, line the baking sheet with foil to help reflect the heat and promote crisping on the bottom.
Bake the slices for 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. While the slices are baking, cook 8oz. of rigatoni according to the package directions (boil 7-10 minutes, or until al dente). Drain the pasta in a colander and return it to the pot with the heat turned off.
Reserve a few of the baked Parmesan eggplant slices for the top of the casserole and cut the rest into 1/2 inch squares.
Add one 24oz. jar of pasta sauce and the diced eggplant to the cooked and drained pasta. Stir until everything is mixed and coated with sauce.
Pour the pasta, sauce, and diced eggplant into a casserole dish or oven safe skillet (I’m having issues with my casserole selection right now, so I used a skillet). Top with the whole Parmesan eggplant slices, then 1 cup of shredded mozzarella.
Bake the casserole in the still hot oven until the cheese is melted (10-15 minutes), and/or place it under the broiler for a minute or so to brown the cheese. I maybe left mine under the broiler for 30 seconds too long… but it’s still delicious! (I blame social media.) P.S. I added some green strictly for the photos sake, but if you happen to have fresh basil laying around, by all means, ADD IT.
This Eggplant Parmesan Pasta could either be four large servings, or six smaller servings if you plan to pair it with side dish(es). I’m going to make some broccoli to serve along side this, so it’s slated to be six servings. Six DELICIOUS servings. I maybe ate one today just after taking this photo.