Chunks of roasted eggplant are baked in tomato sauce with ricotta and a topping of ground walnuts. Mix the basil in before baking or sprinkle it fresh over the top before serving.
2 medium Italian style eggplants, peeled and cubed
2 large shallots or a small onion, finely chopped
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 1/2 cups good quality tomato sauce
16 ounces good quality ricotta
1 cup walnut pieces, ground or minced
1 cup chopped fresh basil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the eggplant cubes with the shallot and garlic in a 10x13-inch baking dish. Drizzle generously with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. (Note that the eggplant will easily absorb all the oil; do not add more.) Bake for 20 minutes then remove from oven. Turn the temperature down to 350 degrees.
Pour the tomato sauce over the eggplant mixture and mix well. It should be well sauced but not too soupy. Dot spoonfuls of ricotta over the surface. Top with basil and walnuts if desired, or just walnuts with the basil reserved for fresh topping after baking.
Bake again for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot, optionally topping with fresh basil.