Serves 4 with leftovers
2large eggplant, cut into ½-inch cubes5tablespoons olive oilSalt and black pepper, to taste2medium onions, coarsely chopped2carrots, coarsely chopped2cloves garlic, chopped1can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes, crushed in a bowl2tablespoons tomato paste¼teaspoon crushed red pepper, or more to taste1cup red wine2tablespoons chopped fresh oregano2tablespoons chopped fresh thyme2pounds penne2cups grated fresh Parmesan
1. Set the oven at 400 degrees.
2. In a bowl, toss the eggplant with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Spread it on a rimmed baking sheet and roast it, turning several times, for 25 minutes or until it is cooked through.
3. In a large flameproof casserole over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onions, carrots, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper, and wine. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
4. Add the eggplant, oregano, and thyme. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and cover the pan. Simmer for 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and red pepper, if you like. Transfer half the sauce to a container for the timbale.
5. Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the penne, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until it is tender but still has some bite.
6. Dip a heatproof measuring cup into the pasta water and remove ½ cup. Drain the pasta without rinsing it. Add half the pasta and 1 cup Parmesan to the container of sauce for the timbale.
7. If the Bolognese in the pan seems thick, thin it with pasta water. In each of 4 shallow bowls, ladle some of the Bolognese, add pasta, and more Bolognese. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and black pepper. Molly Kravitz