Monday, August 24, 2009

Eggplant Lasagna

I love eggplant. I love (good) lasagna. Since my garden is currently exploding with plum tomatoes (great for homemade marinara), basil, and eggplants (actually, I didn't plant any this year, but they are really fresh and affordable right now), I created my version of eggplant lasagna.

Since this is a vegetarian dish, I figured I'd need to serve it with pasta or something more substantial. I took one bite and was surprised that this is lighter than traditional lasagna, but it doesn't need any pasta. We heated a loaf of crusty bread and this was a meal in itself. It's also pretty lean, so I didn't feel as guilty as I would when eating a cheesy, meat-laden, pasta-filled traditional lasagna. Unfortunately, eggplant is one of the few foods that my husband won't try, so my mom and I had this dish to ourselves. Try this one!


2 medium eggplants (about 1 lb. each)
l lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced thin
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
15 oz. part-skim ricotta (about 2 cups)
1 egg
chopped fresh basil (about 10 leaves)
1 t. garlic powder
1 quart marinara sauce (I prefer homemade, but do what you gotta do)
extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Peel the eggplants (I prefer to peel in stripes, leaving on half the skin). Cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices.
3. Line 2 baking sheets with foil. Lay the sliced eggplant on the baking sheets and salt the eggplant to absorb moisture and remove bitterness. Let the salted eggplant sit for 15 minutes, then rinse the eggplant, pat it try, and return it to the baking sheets.
4. Brush the eggplant lightly with olive oil and bake for 15 minutes, or until tender and light brown. Set eggplant aside to cool.
5. While the eggplant bakes, mix the ricotta, egg, Parmesan, and garlic powder in a bowl. Add pepper to taste. Set aside.
5. Spray a large, deep baking pan (I use 9x15) with nonstick spray. Spread a thin layer of marinara on the bottom of the pan. Layer eggplant, 1/2 the mozzarella (I shredded it, but I think it's better sliced), 1/2 of the ricotta mixture (this layer will be thin), and marinara. Repeat once and end with a layer of marinara. Sprinkle the top with a handful of extra Parmesan.6. Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes, or until bubbly throughout. Let cool at least 20 minutes before serving.

Wouldn't it be great if I had a picture of the finished product? Um... it was so good that my mom and I ate it all, packed up the rest for lunch tomorrow and forgot to take a picture. I'll try to get a snapshot next time I make this dish!

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