"Back off, bitch" Rigatoni & Vodka Sauce Timbale with Basil Oil

FROM - DelightfulDeliciousDelovely.com

FYI - you might want to copy & paste the recipe below into a new document & print that rather than printing from this site.  If you print this - the sidebar on the left prints, too, and you end up with 12 blank pages at the end of the recipe.

I originally intended to add peas to this dish - also for the visual - but decided on a vibrant green basil oil, instead.  But if you like peas - just add a cup when you mix the filling.  The basil oil is a nice touch but TOTALLY optional.  Also - if you want a lighter dish - just use straight arrabbiata - rather than vodka sauce.  I used mozzarella & goat cheese in this.  You might want to use feta or cheddar or smoked mozzarella, instead.  Smoked mozzarella with arrabbiata in this dish work really well.  Experiment.  Use your imagination.  You can't really mess this up.

"Back off, Bitch" Rigatoni & Vodka Sauce Eggplant Timbale with Basil Oil



1/3 cup olive oil

3 garlic cloves - chopped

2 tsp crushed red pepper

1/2 cup parsley - chopped

1/2 cup basil - chopped

4 cups tomato sauce

1 pint heavy cream

1/2 cup vodka (optional)

1 tsp pepper 1 tsp sugar

1 tsp oregano

salt to taste


1 packed cup of fresh basil

3/4 cup high quality olive oil


1 pound rigatoni

1/2 pound fresh mozzarella - diced

3 oz goat cheese 

3 large eggplants

bread crumbs

Chopped tomato or chopped fresh parsley or basil - as garnish


Pre-heat the oven to 350.


Blanch the basil in boiling water for 10-20 seconds than plunge into ice water.  Squeeze out the water & puree in a food processor with olive oil & salt to taste.  Go light on the salt.  Set aside.


Heat oil & saute garlic, crushed red pepper & oregano for a minute or two.  Add the vodka & cook for a minute or so being careful not to get burned by the sputtering oil - then add the tomato sauce & heavy cream.   Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a boil then reduce heat to low & simmer for 30 minutes or more until sauce thickens a bit.


Slice the eggplants into 1/4 inch slices.  You can go the long way or the other way - creating round disks.  Place in colanders or on paper towels & sprinkle with salt on both sides.  Let the eggplants drain for about 30 minutes.  This not only helps remove moisture from the eggplant but also minimizes bitterness.

You can either rub olive oil into your eggplant before grilling or you can dip them in an Italian salad dressing - really just to lubricate them so they do not stick to the grilling surface & tear apart.  Grill (a grill pan works, too) the eggplant until they get nice grill marks on one side, turn them & repeat.  Remove & set aside.

Cook the rigatoni according to the box directions.  Err on the side of under-cooking - as they will cook more in the oven.  Drain the rigatoni & mix in a bowl with cheeses (you can substitute smoked mozzarella or Parmesan or cheddar cheeses - if you prefer) & 2 cups of vodka sauce.  Add more sauce if you like a really wet pasta.  You will have extra vodka sauce that you can use to add as a garnish to the finished slices of timbale or to use in another recipe.  It might be nice to have extra sauce for the timbale when you are in the leftovers phase.


Grease a spring form pan & then put some bread crumbs inside.  Swirl the pan to coat all the surfaces with bread crumbs.  Throw any unstuck bread crumbs away.

Line the inside of the pan with grilled eggplant.  You can either do as I did here or, if you have circular disks, fan them on the bottom of the pan & then stick some, overlapping, up on the sides.  However you do it - try to cover every part of the pan with eggplant.  Pour the pasta & vodka sauce & cheese mix in.  Top with any remaining eggplant slices.

Cover the timbale in foil & place some heavy dishes on top & put in the fridge to compress for about 30 minutes.  Then - remove the foil & bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.  Let rest, unmolested, for at least ten minutes and then put a serving dish on top of the timbale, flip the whole thing over & then very carefully - remove the spring form pan.  

Place slices on plates & drizzle with basil oil (if using).  Garnish with either chopped tomatoes or chopped basil or parsley.