Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Eggplant "Lasagne"

Now that we are getting our local produce delivered once a week, I am really getting pushed to cook a lot of different foods. It is pushing me a little outside of my comfort level. I do see that as a good thing so :) How can it not be better for you to eat a much more varied diet?!

In any case, yesterday's box from Organics to You included a couple of eggplants. Interesting....I was stomped what on earth would I make with Eggplant. Eggplant Parmisiana, Mousakka, etc. were recipes I thought of but all of the recipes I found had mozzarella, or other "young" cheese in it. I thought that taking out the cheese would change the recipe too much. I first looked on the web, but then looked through my quite extensive cook book library. The recipe I adapted is Pasticcio Di Melanzane Con Lasagne - Eggplant and Lasagne Casserole (so really not lasagne, but it certainly looks like it when its done :) ) by Julia Dell Croce, The Vegetarian Table, Italy.
It turned out fantastic, a little bit of work, but very well worth it. I did take a couple of short cuts, and went to buy fresh lasagna sheets from Pastaworks (absolutely CG friendly) You can either make the tomato sauce from scratch, or you can use a jar if there is one that you really like. FYI - I used Parmigiano Regiano but I think that it will also taste great if you leave the cheese out. I would not use a fake cheese (I do not really like that anyway). Here is the recipe:-

2 Eggplants (about 2 lbs.)
Olive Oil
6 oz. of lasagna (if using "boil" pasta cook pasta not quite al dente before assembling"
1 Cup of Parmigiano Regiano grated (if using)
2 large eggs lightly beaten
2 tablespoons PLAIN Silk Creamer
2 tablespoons Parmigiano Regiano (if using)
1 - 2 large jars of Pasta Sauce, or make your own using canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil

- Trim navel and stem off the eggplants
- Cut eggplants into rounds
- Sprinkle eggplants with salt, put them upright into a colander for about 40 minutes (liquid will
drain from eggplant)
- Make sauce, or heat pasta sauce using gently
- Heat Olive Oil in pan - when Olive Oil is hot add eggplant (should sizzle)
- Fry eggplant from each side until they get color (browned) from each side
- Set fried eggplant on paper towel
- If using "boil" type pasta bring water to boil now, and cook pasta sheets
- Preheat oven to 400 F
- Pour a little bit of sauce in a 9x12 baking dish (the one I used was larger it still worked OK)
- Place about 1/2 of the eggplant on top of the sauce
- Put a thin layer of sauce on top of the eggplant
- If using sprinkle about 1/4 of the cheese on top of the eggplant/sauce
- Place one layer of pasta sheets on top of the eggplant/sauce/cheese mixture
- Spread layer of sauce on top of pasta sheet
- If using sprinkle about 1/4 cheese on top of the sauce
- Place remaining eggplant on top of the sauce
- Top with a little bit of sauce
- If using sprinkle with 1/4 of the cheese
- Place second layer of pasta sheet on top of the eggplant/sauce/cheese mixture
- Top with remaining sauce
- If using top with rest of the cheese (but for 2 reserved tablespoons)
- Lightly combine the beaten eggs with the 2 tablespoons of the PLAIN Silk Creamer, and (if
using) 2 tablespoons of Parmigiano
- Pour the topping evenly over the assembled "lasagna"
- Bake in oven at 400 F for about 20 - 25 minutes

It turned out fantastic and is well worth the effort. I ended up using more sauce as I made my own and then ended-up also using a jar. That may have been due to the fact that may baking dish was larger. Using fresh pasta is not only a time saver, but it also tastes fantastic. But I am sure that this will also turn out fantastic with the regular "boil", or even "non-boil" sheets.

As always, please let me know if you like this. I think it can also easily adapted for a meat lasagna. I will let you know when I try it thing that cannot be omitted here however are the tomatoes. They are good for you, and good for the kids. :)


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