Friday, October 1, 2010

Melanie's Eggplant Lasagna

I had eggplant and Italian cheeses in the fridge. I wanted to try my hand at eggplant lasagna once again. I had made Rachael Ray's version twice--the first with great success, the second with complete failure. It was awful. We literally scraped the cheese and sauce off of the eggplant and ate that for dinner. It was so bitter and the texture was terrible. But I wanted to be brave and give the beautiful purple vegetable another shot. 

I'm SO glad I did. My mom, husband, and myself all really loved this dish--it was DELICIOUS and quite healthy too! Unfortunately, I took no pictures of this dish for two reasons--one, it didn't look super pretty and two, we devoured it too fast. 

serves 3 adults (especially if served with a side of pasta)
1 medium eggplant 
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese (the one in a round shape--not in a block or shredded)
shredded mozzarella 
1-28oz can whole peeled tomatoes 
1 tsp dried basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash eggplant and chop off the top. Slice into 1/4 inch rounds. Place on a baking sheet and sprinkle generously with salt. Allow this to sit for 30 minutes until moisture develops. This draws out the excess juice and tenderizes the vegetable. Use a clean towel to squeeze out the juice. Drizzle with oil and place baking sheet in the oven. Cook approximately 20 minutes or until soft, golden, and fragrant.

In the meantime, drizzle a large skillet with oil and heat to medium low. Saute onions and garlic until soft. Stir in tomatoes and crush with a wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper and basil. Stir and let simmer for at least 20 minutes. 

Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray. Spoon in thin layer of tomato sauce. Place a layer of eggplant rounds on top. Spread ricotta cheese. Add more sauce, then eggplant, then ricotta, until all the eggplant has been used--I had enough sauce leftover to coat 2 cups of cooked pasta. Cook for 20 minutes until bubbly. Slice mozarella and place on top of the layered dish. Cook for 10 more minutes, or until cheese is melted. 

Serve with a side of pasta, if desired. (This would not be necessary if only 2 were eating.)

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