Upgrade your next pasta night with this super delicious eggplant and fennel pasta bake. It's full of tender melt in your mouth eggplant and fragrant fennel marry together for a real party in your mouth.
As a pasta lover I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy it. The combination marinara sauce, fennel and eggplant with a cheesy crispy Panko topping sounds like heaven to me. I cooked this dish in my 4 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Braiser with a lid. It's great because you can cook and bake all in the same dish. That means less dishes to wash at the end of the night.
Before you get into the food pics let me tell you about my favorite marinara sauce. I only use Raos Homemade Marinara Sauce whenever I make anything with a red sauce. Once upon a time I used to buy other brands, then I started to make my own. After a while I got tired of cutting up all those damn tomatoes. Thankfully I discovered the Raos Homemade Marinara Sauce and my life changed. It tastes just like fresh homemade marinara. It's a little on the pricey side costing anywhere between $6.99 - $9.99 a jar. But TRUST ME it's worth it.
I love how tender the eggplant and fennel become. You could add this on rice or even add a few cups of vegetable broth and make soup.
It's so hard to resist scooping it out and eating it just like this.
Sprinkle on the cheese and bread crumbs followed by a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. It will create a nice cheesy topping with slightly crunchy texture.
After about 10-15 minutes in the oven and put it on broil to let the top get melty and slightly crunchy. It usually only needs about 2-5 minutes on the broil setting in the oven. Just be sure to stay close by so that it doesn't burn.
Look at this beauty!
What I used to make this dish:
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