Baked Pasta with Aubergine, Eggs and Anchovies

bakedpastapI rarely eat pasta, almost never bake it and definitely never switch on the oven it when it’s 33°C outside! Yet, today something made me cook pasta, patiently simmer a sauce with vegetables, boil eggs and prepare a dish which turned out perfect for such a hot summery day. I didn’t follow any recipe, but simply opened my cupboards and improvised, adding this and that. I’m really proud to say I don’t hesitate to post this recipe because I’d love to share it with all of you (with a special dedication to anchovy lovers). It was extraordinary, and even more summery, served with peperoncini sott’olio I made yesterday after MJ, my blogging friend (MJ’s Kitchen) and fellow chilli addict reminded me of them:

Peperoncini sott'olio (Fresh Chillies with garlic and Oil)
Peperoncini sott’olio (Fresh Chillies with garlic and Oil)

TIPS: You can use any vegetables you like or simply have in the fridge, but I finally found aubergine the best suited for this dish.

Obviously, if you don’t like anchovies, skip them or add cut up ham for example.

You can use any easily melting Italian cheese here; smoked scamorza or smoked provola are my favourite (try to find those which are really smoked, i.e. don’t contain “smoke aroma” in the ingredients list).

If you don’t have or don’t want to make peperoncini sott’olio (above), this dish would be delicious with a splash of chilli oil.

Preparation: about 1h30 (but it’s definitely worth it!)

Ingredients (serves four):

750 ml tomato passata or tinned chopped tomatoes or fresh skinned tomatoes simmered until they become a thick sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 big garlic cloves, chopped

1 big aubergine or 1 small courgette+1 small aubergine, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 small sweet pepper (bell pepper or long red pepper), cut into bite-sized pieces

3 hard-boiled eggs

150 g mozzarella, smoked scamorza or smoked provola (or any other melting Italian cheese)

100 g canned anchovies

3 tablespoons capers

salt, pepper, thyme

(grated pecorino or parmezan)

fresh basil

Heat the olive oil.

Fry the garlic for one minute.

Add the sweet pepper and the aubergine (if you use courgette, add it raw to the dish just before baking).

Stir-fry for several minutes.

Add the thyme and 1/2 of the tomato sauce/chopped tomatoes.

Simmer the sauce for about 30 minutes, add salt to taste.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

In the meantime cook short pasta, taking it out of the water 3 minutes before the time indicated  on the package.

In a baking dish place a layer of pasta, cover with vegetables cooked in tomato sauce.

Add courgettes, if using.

Add the remaining tomato sauce.

Cover with half slices of the eggs, capers, chunks of cheese and grate some pecorino/parmezan on top (if using).

Bake for about 40 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted and slightly golden.

Just before serving sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and torn basil leaves.

Serve with pepperoncini sott’olio, if you have them.

14 Replies to “Baked Pasta with Aubergine, Eggs and Anchovies”

  1. I’ve tested several recipes that add uncooked pasta to the sauce and it cooks while baking in the oven! It takes longer so you’ll not want to do it when it’s 33C! We’ve had an incredibly hot and humid summer, I’m hoping it’s not as humid in Europe, I’d be very happy with the slight chill of fall temperatures to be honest.
    Baked aubergine is so wonderful and creamy and paired with a natural smoked cheese sounds perfect.

    1. Thanks a lot, Eva. I also use for example cooked lasagna sheets before baking, but it requires a lot of tomato sauce because the dry pasta needs to be covered completely, so here I even didn’t try. We’ve had very hot summer days recently too. I always think such high temperatures are made fro warmer countries or European regions… here it was quite humid too.

  2. A wonderful list of ingredients featuring so many favorite things like aubergines, anchovies and scarmozza, I definitely have to try this. But I would probably wait until the weather gets cooler, we have about 30 degrees Celsius today as well.

    1. Thank you so much, Adina. I think I’ll bake more often in the summer because, in spite of my initial reluctance, I didn’t suffer as much as I do while cooking something on the stovetop. My kitchen is big and the oven doesn’t heat it a lot, in fact.

  3. Hello Sissi. How are you? This dish looks superb and I’m amazed because you said its a dish of pure innovation. I know. I had those moments of inspiration too when I’m lazy (don’t mean to imply you were) and just throw stuff I have around the kitchen into a casserole dish hoping it will come out really special. Well, sometimes it does, not often. But this genius creation of yours certainly looks a winner. I feel inspired (and the pangs of hunger) from the eggplants, boiled eggs, fresh basil and chili/ garlic oil. Mmmmm, yummy, yummy, yummy… Thanks so much Sissi. I’ll try it this week. I really love all the wonderful recipes you post and I really like the moods of your writings. Keep it up! I look forward to your next entry.

    1. Hello, David. I’m fine, and you? Thank you so much for one more wonderful comment that has made my day (sorry for not answering earlier, but I read comments as they come and they often cheer me up when I’m in a bad mood, just like yours did).
      Thank you so much for the compliments! I also experiment a lot and fail a lot, but it’s always fun to try a new dish.

  4. Well, I would love to eat pasta more often but because of weight watch I eat it rarely myself! If I had something like this in front of me I wouldn’t be able to resist!! It looks superb!

    1. Thank you so much, Katerina. This is exactly my case… here it’s mixed with many vegetables, so the amounts are tiny but the pleasure is big!

  5. Hey Sissi! Oh how I know what you mean about turning on the oven when it’s hot. But sometimes you just have to do it. This pasta dish certainly looks like it was well worth it! I do love pasta and eggplant. Not a fan as you know of anchovies, but do love how you’ve added the boiled eggs. My mother used to make a casserole with eggplants and boiled eggs. Loved it. Except for the anchovies, this kind of reminds me of it.

    Thanks for the shout out Darlin!!!

    1. Hi, MJ! Thank you for the compliments. I am very proud my dish is similar to what your mother used to make. Obviously, it’s delicious also without anchovies (unless you are an addict, like me).

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