Sometimes it is just fun to eat spaghetti in different forms. This recipe is basically a version of baked ziti but with spaghetti, but what make it different is the crust. The crunchy, cheesy crust is what elevates this to deliciousness. Of course you can make this without the crust, but then this would only be plain old baked pasta so do yourself a favor, and don't leave out the crust. I added some fried eggplant into the pasta because there is nothing that fried eggplant cannot enhance and though the taste of the eggplant is subtle it adds good textural contrast. All in all, a simple dish that is pretty to serve, dishes up easily and is a welcome change to the traditional baked pasta. Enjoy!
1 lb spaghetti, broken in half and cooked
1 large eggplant, cubed
3 Tbl oil
4 cups marinara sauce
1 cup ricotta or cottage cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup grated parmesan
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
For the topping:
1 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs -super crunchy!!)
2 Tbl chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbl olive oil
1/4 cup grated parmesan
Fry the eggplant in the oil and set aside. In a large bowl mix the cooked spaghetti, marinara, ricotta, eggs and cheeses. Season to taste with salt, pepper and garlic and place in a round glass dish. Sprinkle the topping all over ( you can double the topping if you want more crust) and bake in a 350 oven until the top is crispy- about half an hour.