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MACARONI PIE A LA MARTHA

Macaroni Pie

Serves 8

3 medium eggplants
Coarse salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil and olive oil, for frying
1 pound pasta, such as bucatini
3 cups Tomato Sauce with Meat, heated
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
6 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 pinch dried oregano
4 ounces thinly sliced caciocavallo cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground pepper

1. Peel the eggplants, and slice them lengthwise 1/4-inch-thick. Sprinkle with salt, and place in a colander to drain for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, lightly butter a 10-inch springform pan with 1 tablespoon butter. Coat evenly with the breadcrumbs; set aside.

3. Using paper towels, dry the eggplant slices. Heat 1/2-inch oil (half vegetable, half olive) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add eggplant, and cook until lightly golden on both sides. Drain on a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Line the bottom and sides of the prepared pan with eggplant slices, slightly overlapping them and letting them overhang the sides of the pan; set aside.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and pasta, and cook for 4 minutes. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl.

5. Stir the tomato sauce, half of the Parmesan and Pecorino, and the oregano into the pasta. Spoon half of the pasta into the lined pan. Top with caciocavalo cheese, remaining 3 tablespoons each Parmesan and Pecorino, and basil, then the remaining pasta. Fold the overhanging slices of eggplant over the pasta, and cover completely with remaining eggplant slices.

6. Dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

7. Remove from oven, place a platter on top, and invert. Let stand for 10 minutes before unmolding. Remove the sides and bottom of the pan. Serve with remaining cup of sauce on the side.

Note: These recipes have been adapted from “The Flavors of Sicily” by Anna Tasca Lanza. Text copyright ©2001 by Anna Tasca Lanza. Photography copyright ©2001 by Alessandro Leone. Reprinted by permission of Ici La Press.

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