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This delicious mafaldine pasta recipe pairs tender roasted eggplant with capers and tangy marinara sauce! The perfect way to cook this unique pasta shape.

Mafaldine pasta
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Looking for delicious ways to cook mafaldine pasta? This long pasta with its frilly edges is totally eye-catching: we couldn’t resist buying some! Of course, Alex and I had to create a new recipe for it. Here’s the best way we found to eat it: swirled with a zesty homemade marinara sauce and tender roasted eggplant! It combines into a flavorful Italian pasta recipe that will become a favorite in your house in no time. Here’s how to make it!

Mafaldine pasta

What is mafaldine pasta?

When Alex found this mafaldine pasta on the shelf, we knew we had to learn how to use it. What is this unique pasta shape? Mafaldine pasta is a long ribbon-shaped pasta, 1-inch thick with ruffled edges. It’s like a cross between fettuccine and a lasagna noodle.

Mafaldine is also known as Reginette, or “little queens” in Italian. It became known as Mafaldine when it was dedicated by the people of Naples to Princess Mafalda of Savoy. So it’s got royal inspiration. Mafaldine is a very versatile type of pasta, and can be served with all sorts of sauces: meat, seafood, creamy sauces, and tomato sauces.

Mafaldine pasta with eggplant

How to make this mafaldine pasta recipe

This mafaldine pasta recipe combines three major components to make a delicious Italian-style pasta. Here’s what you’ll need to do for this recipe:

  • Roast the eggplant. This Roasted Eggplant has incredible flavor! You’ll bake it until it’s tender at very high heat (425 degrees) for about 30 minutes. Add a little garlic and basil, and it’s truly the best taste treat.
  • Make homemade marinara sauce. This Easy Marinara Sauce brings big flavor in a short simmer time. Make it with fire-roasted tomatoes for the best flavor.
  • Boil the pasta! You’ll want to have perfectly al dente mafaldine pasta for this recipe. See below.
Roasted eggplant

Cook this pasta to a perfect “al dente”

Cooking the pasta to “al dente” is important for mafaldine. Of course it is for all pasta shapes! But this pasta is really no good when it’s limp. What’s al dente? In Italian it means “to the bite.” The ideal al dente texture is a tender exterior balanced by a firm bite with a fleck of white at its core. Here’s how to cook this mafaldine pasta to al dente:

  • Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water.
  • While cooking, check the pasta continually for doneness: don’t rely on the package instructions!
  • Just when pasta has a tender exterior but a fleck of white at its core, immediately drain it!
Marinara sauce
Use your favorite marinara sauce in this recipe: this one’s our go-to.

Another flavor secret: capers!

The last thing you need to know about this mafaldine pasta: capers add the final flair! Capers add just the right briny, salty flavor to this pasta. Because it has no cheese (making it a tasty vegan pasta recipe), the capers bring a large amount of flavor. Where to find them at the grocery? Look for small, skinny jars near the olives.


More types of pasta

Love cooking with unique pasta shapes? Here are some of our favorite pasta recipes starring lesser known types of pasta:

  • Cavatappi: Cavatappi are corkscrew shaped pasta! Try our Creamy Cavatappi served with a creamy sauce, spinach and sundried tomatoes.
  • Bucatini: This pasta is like hollow spaghetti! Try it in Simple White Sauce Pasta, topped with an amazing basic cream sauce that everyone will love.
  • Gemelli: Gemelli pasta is an s-shaped strand twisted into a spiral. Try Gemelli with Tomatoes which pairs it with fire-roasted tomatoes and feta.
  • Orecchiette: Orecchiette means “small ears” in Italian: it’s an ear-shaped pasta! Try this Orecchiette Pasta with Tomatoes.
  • Gigli: Gigli pasta is shaped like a lily or bell: “gigli” means lily in Italian. Try our Gigli Pesto Mac and Cheese.
Mafaldine pasta

This mafaldine pasta recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Mafaldine pasta with eggplant

Mafaldine Pasta with Eggplant

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


This delicious mafaldine pasta recipe pairs tender roasted eggplant with capers and tangy marinara sauce! The perfect way to cook this unique pasta shape.



For the roasted eggplant

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 medium to large eggplants (about 2 pounds)
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon grated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or Italian parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper

For the pasta

  • 1 recipe Easy Marinara Sauce (or best quality jarred marinara sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1 pound mafaldine pasta
  • Fresh basil, to garnish (leftover from the marinara recipe)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Roast the eggplant: Cut the eggplant into 1-inch chunks. Quickly mix with olive oil and kosher salt and fresh ground pepper (the eggplant soaks up the oil in an instant, so mix as soon as you add it). Place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until browned and very tender, gently stirring the sheet at about the 25 minute mark.
  3. Make the marinara sauce: Meanwhile, make the Easy Marinara Sauce. Let it simmer covered until the eggplant is done.
  4. Make the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until it is al dente (start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside). Then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
  5. Season the eggplant: When the eggplant is done, remove it from the oven and gently toss with the garlic and herbs, making sure to spread out any chunks of garlic that stick together. The eggplant will be very tender so handle it gently.
  6. Serve: Add the drained capers to the marinara sauce. Pour the sauce over the pasta and mix to combine. To serve, add noodles to a plate, then top with roasted eggplant and finely chopped basil. (If you’d like, you can top with grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese: but it’s not necessary for flavor!)
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Roasted
  • Cuisine: Italian

More Italian recipes

Many of our recipes here at A Couple Cooks are inspired by our travels to Italy! Here are some of our favorite Italian recipes:

  • Perfect Homemade Margherita Pizza Our best margherita pizza recipe is based on our visits to Italy and years of research! It features tangy pizza sauce & a perfect chewy pizza crust.
  • Vodka Sauce Pasta Nothing says “special dinner” more than vodka sauce pasta! The creamy sauce is simmered with garlic and basil, served over rigatoni with lots of Parmesan.
  • Cacio e Pepe A classic Italian dish, this Cacio e Pepe recipe translates to “cheese and pepper” pasta. It’s the mac and cheese of Italy, but even more delicious.

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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