Italian | Mediterranean Diet | Pasta | Vegetarian and Vegan

Baked Eggplant Parmesan Mac and Cheese

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Two totally delicious comfort foods in one dish: Crusty baked eggplant Parmesan with pasta in a creamy, cheesy sauce, all topped with marinara. Buon Appetito!

Baked Eggplant Parm Mac and Cheese

Eggplants are to Sicilians what potatoes are to the Irish. – Fabrizia Lanza

When we’re thinking about comfort food, all things carb-y and cheese-y are often the first things we crave.

Personally, eggplant Parmesan and macaroni and cheese — or, basically any kind of pasta with cheese on it — are two dishes right at the top of the list.

So, here’s a recipe that combines the two, an all-in-one meal to serve out of a bowl while on a comfy couch.

Baked Eggplant Parm Mac and Cheese

What’s your comfort food?

However you personally define comfort food has everything to do with you.

Somewhere down the line it all comes down to memories of being cooked for and fed before you were able to do so on your own.

It can be interesting to think about what triggers your own food cravings.

What if I hadn’t grown up in the United States but in a completely different culture in a different part of the world, like in Italy where my ancestors lived?

Eggplant Parmesan Mac and Cheese

Instead of the sweet, white and starchy things that my generation ate as kids (and probably what lots of 21st century ones do, too), my taste buds might have been formed by a totally different set of flavors and textures.

I’m drawn to humble, earthy foods so completely that I wonder if it’s somehow coded in DNA.

How else do I have a taste — and even a sense of nostalgia — for a way of eating and living I never experienced?

No matter the origins of any person’s family tree, we can all relate to satisfying our hungers with recipes that are grounded in peasant cooking.

Baked Eggplant Parm Mac and Cheese

Origins of Classic eggplant parmesan

It’s hard to know for sure if long-ago Italian grandmothers prepared something similar to our modern-day eggplant Parmesan.

But it’s safe to say that Southern Italians, specifically Neapolitans and Sicilians, have definitely been eating eggplant Parmesan for hundreds of years.

The basic, traditional method for making eggplant parmesan goes like this:

  • Slice eggplant, then dip into an egg batter and coat with flour or breadcrumbs.
  • Fry eggplant in oil.
  • Layer in a casserole or baking dish with tomato sauce, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

Baked Eggplant Parm Mac and Cheese

All good, but it was that frying step I wanted to skip.

So I’ve come up with no-fry eggplant parmesan that delivers a delectable crunchy crust without the mess (and extra oil) that comes with deep-drying.

It’s baked eggplant parm mac and cheese!

Not exactly old school, but somehow this dish brings the old world and 21st century tastes comfortably together.

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Steps for Making Baked Eggplant Parmesan Mac and Cheese:

  • This is a hearty dish that will easily feed a hungry table of 4, with leftovers.
  • Keep this in mind for a weekend dish, since it does involve multiple pots, pans and baking sheets.
  • But you can save time by using prepared marinara sauce and making the white cheese sauce up to 2 days ahead (keep refrigerated).
  • Then, you can bake the eggplant and boil the pasta just before assembling and baking.
Baked Eggplant Parm Mac and Cheese

Baked Eggplant Parmesan Mac and Cheese

Familystyle Food
An amazing comfort food combo! Baked Eggplant Parm Mac and Cheese features crusty no-fry eggplant in a pasta casserole with a creamy cheese sauce.
Print Pin
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • ¾ pound (350 g) eggplant, about 1 medium or 2 small, peeled
  • 1 egg
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • cups (270 g) panko crumbs or coarse dry bread crumbs
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups (475 ml) whole milk
  • ½ cup (50 g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 12 ounces (340 g) dried pasta shells orecchiette or similar shape
  • 1 cup (240 ml) prepared marinara sauce
  • ¾ cup (85 g) shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese, about 1/2 pound
  • ¼ cup (15 g) chopped Italian parsley

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 450 (230 C) degrees.
  • Bring a large (4-6 quarts) pot of water to a boil and add 3 tablespoons salt.
  • Slice eggplant in half lengthwise, then slice each in half again. Slice crosswise into ½-inch thick pieces.
  • Whisk together egg, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, garlic and oregano in a large bowl. Add eggplant and toss to coat. Dredge eggplant in the panko crumbs on a cookie sheet.
  • Place a large rimmed baking sheet on the oven rack and heat for 10 minutes.
  • Pour enough olive oil over the bottom of the preheated baking sheet to cover to a depth of 1/4-inch. Lay eggplant on the pan and roast 12 minutes. Flip eggplant slices over with a spatula, and roast an additional 10 minutes or until eggplant is tender and crust is golden. 
  • Meanwhile, heat a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Add butter and heat until foaming subsides and butter is melted. Whisk in flour; cook 1 minute. Slowly pour in milk while whisking. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat and cook 5–10 minutes, whisking occasionally, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Drain.
  • Lower oven temperature to 400 (200 C) degrees. Combine the pasta with the milk sauce and transfer to a large casserole or baking dish. Top with the eggplant (and any crisp crumbs in the pan), marinara, remaining Parmesan and mozzarella cheese. Bake 12-15 minutes, until hot and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Notes

  • This is a hearty dish that will easily feed a hungry table of 4, with leftovers.
  • Keep this in mind for a weekend dish, since it does involve multiple pots, pans and baking sheets.
  • Save time by using prepared marinara sauce and making the white cheese sauce up to 2 days ahead (keep refrigerated).
  • Bake the eggplant and boil the pasta just before assembling and baking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 365kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 502mg | Potassium: 450mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 554IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 256mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe? Mention @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Instagram!!

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Baked Eggplant Parm Mac and Cheese

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food!

6 Comments

  1. I definitely love the idea of double comfort food with mac and cheese And eggplant parm all at once! Adding veg sounds like it would make the mac & cheese much easier to eat in huge amazing servings too. 🙂

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