I released the spring...PHLUMPH!
"That can't be good." I looked over at Roberto. He gave a look of cautious optimism.
I inhaled deeply, held my breath, and lifted the spring-form pan. Phew. The air came rushing from my lungs. A smile crept across my face. Success.
"I'm going to make this." I said. My finger pointing to Pasta 'Ncasciata (pasta pie).
The Concise Gastronomy of Italy by Anna Del Conte
A Sicilian pasta pie, the pasta being encased ('ncasciata) in the fried eggplant. This is a stunning and tasty dish, full of different flavors.
"It looks very involved."
"There are a lot of parts, but everything is pretty basic. I'm going to make it today. We'll have it for supper."
"What's in it?"
"Fried eggplant, tomato sauce, rigatoni, salami, two hard-boiled eggs, mozzarella..." The list went on and on.
"Tasty." He said.
What a satisfying word, tasty.
Clever, but not fussy, Pasta 'Ncasciata.
Hard-boil two large eggs. Cool to room temperature.
Slice, salt, and drain eggplant (enough to encase a spring-form pan, both sides and bottom).
Prepare your favorite red sauce. Cool to room temperature.
Rinse and pat dry eggplant. Fry (egg and breadcrumbs or egg and flour, whichever you prefer). Cool to room temperature.
Boil pasta (very al dente, as much as you think you'll need to fill your spring-form). Dress with loads of sauce and cool to room temperature. Stir often.
Slice hard-boiled eggs (about five slices per egg).
Slice thinly sliced salami into strips (enough to layer twice, half inch should do).
Grate mozzarella and parmesan (enough to keep things glued together).
Line sides and bottom of spring-form pan with fried eggplant. Layer pasta; egg; salami, cheese; pasta; salami; cheese; pasta; cheese. Repeat until you've filled your pan to the brim and then some.
Bake covered for 20-30 minutes in a 375 degree oven until cooked through. Continue to bake uncovered for 10 minutes to get things a little crusty.
When your pasta pie is ready, remove from oven and let sit, covered, for five minutes (you might need to run a knife around the perimeter). Invert onto plate. Eat as many slices as you like, immediately.