Baked Ratatouille Sausage Penne

Baked Ratatouille Sausage Penne
Just another comfort food!

3 uncooked turkey Italian sausage links (12 ounces total)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 14 1/2 - ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 ounces dried whole wheat penne pasta (about 2-1/4 cups)
1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
Snipped fresh parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place sausage links in an unheated skillet. Add 1/2 inch of water to the skillet. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until juices run clear; drain off liquid. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes more or until browned, turning occasionally. Remove from heat. When cool enough to handle, cut sausages in half lengthwise; bias-cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Set aside.
In a large skillet, cook garlic in hot olive oil for 1 minute. Stir in undrained tomatoes, the 3 tablespoons parsley, and, if desired, the crushed red pepper. Bring to boiling. Stir in eggplant. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, cooking it for the minimum time listed; drain. Return pasta to hot pan. Stir in eggplant mixture and sausage. Spoon into a 2-quart baking dish.
Bake, covered, about 30 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Uncover and bake about 5 minutes more or until cheese melts. If desired, sprinkle with additional parsley. Makes 6 (1-cup) servings.