Eggplant Pasta, Two Ways

Eggplant Pasta | brownpaperbelle.com

{Ingredients}

Sauce
3-4 Medium Sized Eggplants
Bunch of Thyme, Leaves Stripped
Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, Diced
3 Cloves of Garlic, Cut Finely
1 x 750mL Jar of Passata
1 x 440g Can of Italian Whole Tomatoes
300mL Pouring Cream
Salt to taste
1 Medium Chilli, Diced (Optional)

Spaghetti
500g Packet of Spaghetti (Bucatini or Tubular if you can find)
Parmesan To Serve

or
Lasagne
1 x Packet of Ready Made Lasagne Sheets
300g Mozzarella, Cut Into Discs
50g Parmesan, Grated
1 x Quantity White Sauce (Recipe here)

{Method}
Sauce
1. Trim end of eggplant.  Cut into large finger sized chunks and layer in a colander, gently salting each layer as you put them in.  Leave to sweat for 30 minutes.
2. Drain eggplant and roughly dry with some paper towel.  Heat a large frypan or wok or griddle with some olive oil and fry the eggplant in batches until cooked and slightly charred. Set aside.
3. In a large saucepan, place a good two glugs of olive oil, the onions, garlic and thyme (and chilli if you are using) and sauté over a medium heat until onions have softened.
4. Add in the passata and tomatoes and salt and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes.
5. Add the eggplant and cream and stir well.  Simmer for another 20 minutes.   Taste and add salt or pepper if required.

Spaghetti
6. Cook the spaghetti according to the directions on the packet.  Drain well.  Toss through the sauce in a large saucepan.
7. Serve in large bowls with a generous shaving of parmesan and a sprinkle of thyme leaves.

Lasagne
7. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.  Grease a large baking tray with butter.  8. Spoon a layer of the eggplant sauce.
9. Spread a layer of mozzarella discs over the sauce.
10. Arrange the pre-made lasagne sheets in a layer.
11. Repeat steps 8,9,10 until no more sauce or lasagne sheets are left (I used three layers of lasagne sheets) finishing with a thin layer of eggplant sauce on top.
12. Make the white sauce according to the directions (here) and while hot, pour over the lasagne.  Top with grated parmesan.
13. Bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes.

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