Baked Pasta with Eggplant and Olives

(Serves 4 to 6)
Baked Pasta with Eggplant and Olives
This oven baked pasta, or pasta al forno, combines some of the favorite flavors of southern Italy,
eggplant and olives.  It also includes scamorza which is a cow's milk spun cheese that is produced
in Campania, Abuzzo, and Molise.  In Puglia, it is made from sheep's milk.  Scamorza belongs to the
same family as mozzarella and provolone. It is similar to provolone in its pear-shaped and similar to
mozzarella in texture, although scamorza  is a bit firmer and has more flavor. There is a plain and a
smoked scamorza cheese; both have a nice texture that only gets better when melted.  Either type
may be used in this recipe.  If you can't find scamorza use provolone in its place. This recipe only
uses 8 ounces of uncooked pasta for 4 to 6 servings but with the addition of the eggplant you will get
a substantial dish.
Ingredients:

8 ounces penne or ziti
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 small eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
10 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, minced
1-1/2 cups Traditional Tomato Sauce or your favorite tomato sauce
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
4 ounces shredded scamorza cheese

Directions:

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente.

While the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the eggplant, olives, and pepper flakes to the skillet.
Saute the mixture for 4-5 minutes, until the eggplant begins to brown.
Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
Stir in the tomato sauce and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.
Reduce the heat to medium and allow the sauce to cook for about 5 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce in the skillet.
Gently stir to coat the pasta with the sauce and cook for 1 minute.
Spread half of the pasta in a baking dish that is approx. 10-1/2 x 7-inches.
Spread 1/2 of the mozzarella, 1/2 of the scamorza, and 1/2 of the Parmesan over
the top. Add the remaining pasta and a final layer of all the cheeses.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
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