Frank Occhino’s Baked Ziti with Eggplant
Frank Occhino’s Baked Ziti with Eggplant
Posted on
April 30, 2024
Welcome to your new favorite dinner recipe: Frank Occhino's Baked Ziti with Eggplant is the cozy, cheesy dish you've been dreaming of. It's perfect for any family meal or when you just need some comfort food.

Servings: 6-8

Preparation Time:45 minutes


- Tomato Sauce:
- Half a whole Onion, thinly diced
- 3 cans of Cento San Marziano Roman Tomatoes, crushed by hand
- ½ cup of fresh basil, chopped
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- ½ teaspoon of red chili flakes
- 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
- 10 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 Medium-Sized Eggplants, sliced into medallions
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella
- 8 oz. grated Parmigiano Reggiano or grated Romano cheese
- 1 ½ pounds of Rigatoni, Mostaccioli, or pasta of your choice


  1. In a medium Dutch pot, heat 10 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add thinly diced onion and sauté until translucent. Then add a pinch of red chili flakes. 
  2. In a large bowl add in the 3 cans of whole peeled tomatoes and crush them by hand. Add the crushed tomatoes into the dutch pot and Simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, add fresh basil, black pepper, and salt to the tomato sauce. Stir and set aside.
  4. Fry the eggplant medallions until golden brown. Place them on a tray lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
  5. Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  7. In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta with a couple of scoops of tomato sauce. tear some of the fried eggplant in peices (set aside 8 eggplant medallians for assembly) and Add basil, and grated cheese. Mix thoroughly until combined.
  8. Coat the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish with tomato sauce.
  9. Pour half of the pasta mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle with grated Romano cheese.
  10. Arrange some of the remaining eggplant slices on top of the pasta. Place slices of fresh mozzarella over the eggplant.
  11. Repeat the layers once more, starting with the remaining pasta mixture and finishing with a sprinkle of grated Romano cheese.
  12. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and golden.
  13. Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Serve hot, garnished with grated cheese and fresh basil if desired. Enjoy with a glass or two of your favorite Gratsi Wine!
 PS: While you are here, why not give a try to our delicious vino! Click here to learn more. 

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