Pasta 'ncasciata

Oven-baked macaroni with eggplants   Traditional recipe from Sicily

This pasta recipe is a baked dish very rich in ingredients. Obviously it has a lot of calories but it's a real delicacy to prepare for your special moments in summer. It can be considered a Mediterranean dish but to be eaten rarely. A curiosity: it is one of the favorite dishes of the Inspector Montalbano ;)) Here's my own version.

baked macaroni with eggplant, mozzarella and meat sauce
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Oven-baked macaroni with eggplants

Ingredients / Serves 8

  • 500g (1.1 ounces) macaroni
  • 750g (1.7 pounds) ripe tomatoes
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) ground beef
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) chicken livers
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) cotto ham, finely sliced
  • 600g (1.3 ounces) eggplants (aubergines)
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tablespoons grated Pecorino
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 50g (1 3/4 ounces) shallot
  • 150g (5 1/2 ounces) leek
  • Some leaves fresh basil
  • A little bunch fresh chives
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Peanut oil
  • Plain dry breadcrumbs
  • Salt
  • Time:
    preparation: 60 minutes
    plus cooling time

    cooking: 60 minutes
    total: 2 hours
  • Difficulty:
    medium difficulty
  • How many calories in a serving?
    Calories: n.c. (kcal) - n.c. (kJ)
    Protein: n.c. (g)
    Total fat: n.c. (g)
    Total carbohydrate: n.c. (g)
    Sugars: n.c. (g)

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oven-baked pasta inside the pan
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Macaroni inside a round baking pan before turning upside down

Recipe for baked pasta with eggplants and cheese

Preparation and cooking

  • - Prepare eggplants.
    Wash and slice eggplants. Arrange them in layers, in a colander, salting each layer.
    Remember to put a weight on top.
    This step is necessary to remove their bitter taste. You'll need about an hour.
  • - Meanwhile ...
    ... prepare pasta sauce.
    Remove peel, seeds and vegetative liquid from all tomatoes and chop their flesh.
    Place 2 tablespoons olive oil in a non-stick frying pot.
    Slice shallot and leek finely and transfer into your pot.
    Let all fry slightly, on very low heat, stirring frequently.
    Add ground beef, stir very well, let all flavor.
    Chop chicken livers and add them too.
    Increase heat, let all flavor, a couple of minutes.
    Then add tomatoes, season to taste with salt, reduce heat and cook, other 20 minutes, half-covered, stirring now and then.
  • - Meanwhile ...
    ... wash basil and chives and pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper. You have to cut them into your sauce a minute before turning off the stove.
    Cut cotto ham into strips and add to your sauce, only when you have turned off the stove.
    Stir very well and put apart.
  • - Fry eggplants.
    Wash eggplant slices under cold running water, pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper.
    Heat abundant peanut oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry eggplants slices, few at a time, on both sides. You need only few minutes. Transfer them with a skimming ladle on absorbent kitchen paper to remove the excess fat.
    Let them cool.
  • - Shell the hard-boiled eggs and cut into slices.
  • - Cook macaroni al dente. I use macaroni that require 11 minutes of cooking, as declared on their packaging but I let them boil only 8 minutes as this recipe requires an extra step in the oven.
    Drain pasta very well and transfer again into the pot.
    Add pasta sauce and stir.
    At this point cut eggplant slices in pieces and add to pasta along with hard-boiled eggs. Use a kitchen scissors, it's better!
    Stir with delicacy.
  • - Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
    Grease a deep round baking pan (25 centimeters - 9 inches large, 11 centimeters - 4.3 inches deep) with the remaning olive oil and sprinkle with abundant dry breadcrumbs.
  • - Grate mozzarella cheese by a large-hole grater and add it along with 2 tablespoons Pecorino to your pasta.
    Stir very well and pour into the pan.
    Sprinkle the top with the remaining Pecorino cheese.
  • - Bake, about 30 minutes.
baked pasta
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Detail of baked macaroni

Just before serving

  • - Remove the pan from oven and let it rest some minutes (5 to 10) before serving.
  • - Serve it directly in the pan or try to turn it upside down on a serving platter.



  • - Generally, I prefer variegated purple eggplants or elongated purple ones because their flesh is particularly suitable for frying.
    Someone has the habit to replace frying with oven baking but I have never tested it and so I do not know if there are some variations in the taste of this dish. I say that it is made so rarely that you can fry eggplants without any problem.
  • - The original recipe tells to fry garlic instead of shallots and leeks in olive oil. Garlic cloves, at least two, must be removed before adding all other ingredients. I prefer my version that I have just explained because I love tha flavor of shallot combined with leek.
  • - Many use salami instead of cotto ham and caciocavallo cheese instead of mozzarella. The choice is very personal!
  • - Be careful when you grease your baking pan. If you want to turn this pasta upside down and serve it as you see in the photos you must abound with olive oil and dry breadcrumbs.
  • - Pasta 'ncaciata is different. It is made with winter vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower) and topped with a lot of grated pecorino.

Menu planning

  • - This baked pasta is very rich in ingredients and long to do. So I have already suggested it especially for your dinner parties. In this case it can serve up to 10 to 12 people.
    What are other dishes to combine for a perfect meal? Generally, I serve a lot of summer appetizers (stuffed cherry tomatoes, vegetable aspic, salt cakes, large canapes to eat with fork and knife topped with patè, assorted seasonal salads and so on). At the end I serve this pasta dish followed by a summer cake.
  • - If you want to test this recipe, remember to serve it as a single-course meal (it serves 8). Complete your family menu with seasonal fresh fruit.

Healthy eating

  • - Honestly frying eggplants does not allow to make an accurate calculation of fat and calories in this pasta dish. So I have decided to report only the values for the ingredients listed with their exact amount. You have to know that you should also add a minimum of 100 calories for every 100 grams of eggplant fried (they weigh a lot!).
    Energy: 410 kcal (2285 kJ)
    Protein: 21.6g
    Total fat: 12.7g
    Carbo: 55.6g
    Sugar: 8.8g
  • - Fiber per serving: 5.8 grams (daily intake should be 30.0g)


What's the right wine for " Oven-baked macaroni with eggplants "?

This baked pasta with eggplants is a Sicilian recipe and so my husband and I prefer to pair a Sicilian wine: Cerasuolo di Vittoria.