Pasta Al Forno
2slices hearty white sandwich bread , torn into pieces
2cups shredded Italian cheese blend
3tablespoons olive oil
4garlic cloves , minced
1medium eggplant (about 1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
1onion , chopped fine
1(28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2cup finely chopped fresh basil
12ounces rotini pasta
1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Pulse bread, 1 cup cheese, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 clove minced garlic in food processor until coarsely ground; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in large ovensafe nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add eggplant and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add remaining garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Off heat, stir in remaining cheese and basil. Cover and keep warm.
3. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta to boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water. Drain pasta and stir into eggplant mixture, adding reserved pasta water as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Top with bread crumbs and bake until crumbs are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Serve.