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Eggplant Lasagna

 

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Thanks for the great response to yesterday’s menu post! I thought you might like an update on that eggplant lasagna. It was delicious! So good in fact that my meat-eater daughter asked what kind of meat I used in it because it was so yummy.

I started with a recipe I found on RealSimple.com called Eggplant Lasagna with Ricotta and Asiago. This recipe was perfect since I had that entire colander full of tomatoes and eggplant. Of course I can’t ever follow a recipe word for word, not even the first time I make it. In fact, a lot of times I just look at the list of ingredients and do my own thing from that point forward. This was one of those times. So here is my recipe for Eggplant Lasagna:

  • ½ to 1 lb. plum tomatoes, roughly diced
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (if needed)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed but not chopped
  • 3 Japanese eggplants, sliced lengthwise into 4 slices each, about ¼ inch thick
  • 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 c fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan (optional)
  • 12 thin slices of fresh mozzarella
  • Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and olive oil

Start by placing the tomatoes, onion, carrots, garlic, and any leftover ends of the eggplants (not the stems) into a saucepan with a little olive oil and sauté until tender. Remove from heat and puree with a hand blender (or food processor). Personally I like my sauce a little chunky so don’t overdo it. Next, season the sauce with salt and pepper (and tighten it up with a little tomato paste if it’s too runny).

Brush both sides of eggplant with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cook these on the grill (or under the broiler or in a skillet) until softened, 3 to 5 minutes per side.

Combine ricotta, egg, and basil in a small bowl, season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 7 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/3 of your marinara sauce in bottom of dish. Add a layer of eggplant slices and top with ½ of ricotta mixture. Repeat with another layer of sauce, eggplant and ricotta. Top with remaining eggplant slices and sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan if desired (I don’t think it made any difference).

Bake lasagna 15 minutes then top with mozzarella slices and bake 10 minutes more until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand at least 15 minutes before serving for lasagna to set up.

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** Since I used Japanese eggplants, which have thinner skins than traditional eggplant, I didn’t peel them. But the skin was a little difficult to cut thru when trying to serve the lasagna. Next time I may try peeling them or cutting circles rather than planks to make the finished product easier to serve.

 

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