I'm a pretty simple cook...I tend to make things I can throw into a pretty pot, let cook all day long and then pull from the oven and have enough to feed the masses.
Goes against everything I believe in.
Basically, you fry eggplant. You make a marinara. You make a béchamel. You swear a little bit because you have now dirtied a ton pf pots and pans. You boil pasta. You swear some more and maybe, just maybe, shed a tear or two.
You assemble everything, all the while complaining LOUDLY that you will never, ever, ever make a dish like this again.
And just when you get to the point where you think you just can't handle anything else, you get to the part of the recipe where it says 'cover and refrigerate overnight'.
OR...throw the cotton pickin' thing in the oven, open a bottle of wine, and call the neighbors to come over and eat.
Complain a little (or a lot) and drink more wine. Pull the dish, all steaming and hot and smelling like heaven, from the oven, top with fresh basil, invert onto a plate and cut into it...all along hoping for one of two things:
1. That it tastes horrible so you never have to make something like this again
2. That it had better taste good. Or else.
The end decision?
It was...AMAZING. Sigh. After all that, would I make it again?
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
The reason to make it ahead of time? So you have time to wash all the dishes.
But man oh man, it was SO worth it. A hundred times worth it.
So...have a cocktail and cook away. This was true Italian comfort food.
Recipe can be found here: Eggplant and Pasta Incaciata
Have fun...it's worth it.