“Baked pasta dishes are very popular in Italy and they are a great way of not only using up leftover ingredients, but also enriching pasta dishes and making them go further. Baked pasta dishes can be elaborate like some lasagne recipes, but can also be quick and simple like this one made with aubergines and tomato sauce. ”
While the sauce is bubbling away, heat plenty of vegetable oil in a large, deep frying pan until hot, then add some of the aubergine cubes and deep-fry over a medium-to-high heat until golden brown, about 5 minutes. You’ll need to deep-fry the aubergine in batches, ensuring you reheat the oil between each batch. Remove each batch using a slotted spoon and leave to drain on kitchen paper.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pan of salted boiling water according to the packet instructions until al dente. Drain well and set aside.
Remove and discard the garlic cloves from the tomato sauce. Combine the remaining tomato sauce with the deep-fried aubergines, the cooked pasta, basil leaves, three quarters of the mozzarella and half the grated Parmesan.
Pour the mixture into the ovenproof dish, then top with the remaining mozzarella and grated Parmesan. Bake in the oven for about 20–25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving.