We've really done it this time. If this dish were only little corkscrews of pasta tangled up with sun-dried tomatoes and roasted eggplant, it would be delicious. If we added to that a creamy basil pesto sauce, it would be sublime. But when we go a step further and bake it to golden-brown perfection with mozzarella, well, the results are hard to put into words. But what isn't hard is to put it in your belly.
Scoop out ½ cup boiling water into a small bowl and reserve for next step. Place fusilli into boiling water and cook 9 minutes. Drain in colander and return to pot. Pasta will not be fully tender, but will finish cooking in a later step.
Prepare the Ingredients
Add sun-dried tomatoes to small bowl with boiled water, cover with plastic wrap or foil, and rehydrate at least 5 minutes. Trim ends off eggplant and cut into ½" dice. Mince garlic.
Cook the Eggplant
Place a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Working in two batches if necessary, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and eggplant to hot pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5-6 minutes, or until lightly browned and tender. Remove from heat. To pot with fusilli, add eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes and steeping liquid, cream, garlic, and pesto. Stir to combine and season with ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper.
Bake the Pasta
Transfer pasta to prepared casserole dish and top with shredded mozzarella. Put casserole dish on top of baking sheet and bake 15-18 minutes, or until pasta is hot and cheese is golden brown.