Rindy Mae: Baked Tomato-Eggplant Penne


1/2 an eggplant, cut into chunks (it's okay if you want to use a whole one, I promise)
2 14-oz cans of diced tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes or stewed tomatoes or tomato sauce or a mix of whatever you've got)
Tomato paste (use up that can you've got stuck in the back of the fridge - or use the tube like I did)
1/2 C red wine (if you don't have red wine, we can't be friends anymore - just kidding (sort of), just leave it out)
1 tsp dried oregano (or basil, or Italian seasoning)
1 cinnamon stick (this is personal preference - leave it out if you think it's weird)
1/2 C diced onion (I had red, but any color works)
Minced garlic (I used 5 cloves - I'll leave it up to your tastebuds)
1 pound of short pasta (I used penne rigate because I had it - any noodles are A-OK - also, I used whole wheat, which typically comes in a 13.5-oz package - such a rip off)
Grated Parmesan
Grated Mozzarella (I didn't have any, but if I did, I totally would have used it)


Dump all your sauce ingredients (do not include the noodles or cheese) in a saucepan big enough to hold them. 

Crank the heat high enough to get it to a simmer.  Put a lid on it and simmer it for as along as possible.  At least an hour.  If you don't have time to stand over the stove, put everything in the crockpot before you head out the door.  Cook it on high for 5 to 7 hours.  Or on low for whatever the crockpot button says.  (You're loving my directions already, aren't you?)

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

At this point, you could serve it as is, with some cheese sprinkled on top. 

If you'd like to continue on with the oven directions, put some of your sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish.  Dump some noodles on top.  Sprinkle them with cheese.  Add more sauce.  More noodles.  More cheese.  Rinse.  Repeat.  Do that until you're out of everything.  Make sure you finish with sauce and cheese.  You don't want crunchy noodles.  Or maybe you do.  I'm not here to judge.

If you're not ready to eat, cover it up and stick it in the fridge.  If you are ready to eat, cover it and stick it in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes, or until everyone is hot and bubbly.  If you like brown cheese, and who doesn't, take the foil off and stick it back in for another five minutes or so.