Let’s start cooking!
5 medium eggplants, cut into medium cubes
65g all-purpose flour
1L sunflower oil
600g rigatoni pasta or other short pasta
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 celery stalk, finely diced
800g canned peeled tomatoes, drained
½ tbsp granulated sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
150g mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
12 basil leaves
200g Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 160°C
Toss the eggplants in the flour. In a medium pot, heat the sunflower oil to 175°C. Working in batches, add the eggplant and fry until crispy and golden brown, 6 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over medium heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a medium pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook until golden, about 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the pasta and toss to combine.
Transfer one-fourth of the pasta mixture to a deep, ca 20x26cm baking dish and spread to cover. Top with one-fourth of the mozzarella, one-fourth of the eggplant, and 3 basil leaves. Repeat this layering three more times, omitting the basil leaves on the top layer. Sprinkle the top layer with the Parmigiano.
Bake until golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.