During the final days before our move I was looking for quick and easy dinner options to throw together. I was also attempting to use up some of the ingredients in my fridge and pantry. I love having the challenge of figuring out what to cook with a few random ingredients. And that is how this came about. It's a really fun twist on classic eggplant parmesan which I might mention I've managed to mess up terribly twice. I need to work on that version but that might have to wait until my kitchen is finished being installed. I will get it right, I'll tell you that much. The eggplant boats you see here are hollowed out and stuffed with cooked penne, roasted eggplant, parmesan cheese and tomato sauce. They are then topped with some melted mozzarella cheese to finish. They're kid friendly but nice enough to serve to guests so it'll make everyone happy. I've stuffed red peppers and tomatoes before but never eggplant so this was a first for me. One thing I know for sure, I will be cooking it up again since my family simply loved it.
I used the regular large sized eggplants for this one since they were the ones I had in the fridge at the time but the smaller ones can be used too. If you'd like to have it healthy you can switch up the penne for some whole wheat or brown rice pasta. The great thing is that this dish is very filling so a simple side dish of salad or fries will suffice along with it if you are serving it as dinner and all of the eggplant that gets scooped out goes right back into the filling too so no wasting happens. If you like eggplant parmesan at all, you are going to love this one!
Eggplant Parmesan Boats with Penne
2 Large Eggplants
1 Box of Penne Pasta
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Small Sweet Onion
1 Clove Garlic
1 Tsp. Oregano
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 15 oz Can Tomato Sauce
1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese
1. Remove the stems from the eggplants and slice them in half lengthwise. Then, carefully cut the inside out of the eggplant halves and cut it into small cubes.
2. Place the hollowed out eggplants and the cubes in the same roasting pan but separate. Sprinkle both with salt, pepper and olive oil and preheat the oven to 375.
3. Chop up the onion and garlic and add it in with the eggplant cubes.
4. Once the oven has heated, put the roasting pan in the oven and let the eggplants cook for about 20 minutes or until they are softer and cooked through.
5. In the meantime bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove top and add your penne pasta. Allow it to cook almost all the way through and then strain it.
6. Combine the pasta, roasted eggplant cubes, a little bit of salt and pepper, 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, oregano, tomato sauce and parmesan cheese in a large bowl. Mix well. Then spoon the mixture into the hollowed out eggplant halves. Fill them all to the top and put them in the oven for 15 minutes on 350.
7. Add the other 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese to the tops of the eggplant boats in the last 5 minutes so that it melts but doesn't burn and then serve.
What is your go-to dish to cook up when you are short on time? Let me know in the comments form, I'd really like to know!
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