This meatless dish can be served as a side item, but is filling and tasty enough for a main dish!
* 2 medium eggplants, 2 lbs total weight
* Olive oil for frying eggplant
* 1/2 extra virgin olive oil
* 1 small onion, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 3 lbs fresh tomatoes. peeled, seeded, and chopped, or 3 lbs drained canned tomatoes (about 4 and 1/2 cups), chopped
* 3 Tbl chopped fresh basil
* Pinch of sugar
* 1 lb short macaroni, such as ziti or penne
* 2 oz butter (4 Tbl)
* 4 oz freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
* 8 oz fresh mozzarella, finely chopped or grated
# Wash eggplant, but do not peel. Cut into 1/8 inch slices and place in colander, salting each layer. Place a plate and a weight (such as a can or two of vegetables) on top and drain for one hour. Pat dry and squeeze gently to remove excess liquid.
# Put 1/4 inch olive oil into a frying pan and heat to very hot. Fry one layer of eggplant at a time, turning to brown both sides. Drain on paper towels, layering the eggplant and towels as necessary.
# Put 1/4 cup olive oil, onion, and garlic in a 2 qt. pot Saute until softened until softened but not browned. Add the tomatoes and salt. Cook until water has evaporated, about 30 minutes. Add the basil 5 minutes before cooking is finished. Taste for seasonings and add a pinch of sugar.
# Cook the macaroni in 5 qts boiling salted water. Drain while macaroni is still quite firm, after about 7 minutes. Mix with the butter, and half of the Parmesan cheese and salt if necessary.
# Preheat oven to 350F. Spread a little of the tomato sauce on the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Layer the pasta, eggplant, mozzarella, and the sauce until all the ingredients are used up, ending with one thin layer of eggplant. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese and bake for 40 minutes, or until lightly browned.