Baked Eggplant

baked eggplantMy initial idea for this recipe was to cut eggplant into length-wise slices and bake them, then coat them with a thick layer of ricotta cheese mixed with garlic, basil, sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella, then roll them up tight, to bake.  Drizzle with cheese, let it melt until brown and bubbly and viola!  Crazy-good melty eggplant roll-ups.  I’m sure there is some fancy italian name for this dish, I just haven’t discovered it yet. 

When chatting about the recipe with Mr. Cheese, he suggested just layering the eggplant, thinking the texture of cooked eggplant wouldn’t hold up to the rolling process.  This might be due to his misconception that eggplant is supposed to be cooked until a mushy mess, rather than al dente.  When I envision my poor rollecooking eggplantd eggplant masterpieces mushing to piles of melted nothing in the oven once they heat up, I play it safe and cook them in layers rather than roll them.  No matter, because the finished product was out of this world!  The sun-dried tomato added the perfect bit of zip to the ricotta and eggplant, and just like any good pasta dish, it was even better on day 2!

Baked Eggplant

  • 2 large eggplants, washed and peeledpeston mise en place
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 16 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienned (cut like match sticks)
  • 16 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup pesto
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes, seeded and chopped

How to Make It!

Slice the eggplant in 1/4 inch thick slices and sprinkle lightly with salt.  Set on a paper towel and set aside.  In a medium frying pan, cook the ground beef until done, strain from the grease and set aside.  In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Pat the eggplant with a paper towel and when the pan is heated through, cook the eggplant until al dente, turning occasionally to brown. baked eggplantWhen done, wipe the bottom of a large casserole dish with olive oil and lay down a layer of eggplant. 

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, garlic, tomatoes, egg, nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir well to combine. 

Sprinkle 1/3 of the beef over the eggplant, then top with a bit of pesto, then 1/3 of the ricotta mix being sure to spread the ricotta over the edges.  Sprinkle with mozzarella then cover with another layer of eggplant. Continue until all ingredients are used, the sprinkle with the other cup of mozzarella.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.  Let sit at least 5 minutes prior to cutting.  Drizzle a large spoon of tomatoes on the plate and top with a piece of eggplant.  Serves 6 to 8 people or 4 Italians.

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About tossingtheswissaround

I have been obsessed with food since I can remember. I grew up watching the Frugal Gourmet and Julia Childs in black and white repeats on TV. I made an elementary version of veal parmesan when I was all of 8 years old and even concocted a homemade version of vomit to drizzle along the hallway and oh-so-carefully in the bathroom so I could get of school whenever I wanted. Dad never caught on but I eventually came clean about that vomit recipe. About two years ago. My skills have greatly improved and my obsession has only deepened as the years go by. In the mornings, I ask my co-workers what’s for lunch, what they ate last night and what is on the menu tonight. I groan when I eat almost anything I like because I can barely contain my excitement. Because, well, because it’s food! I was technically trained and once worked as a formal chef but physically that takes its toll so I joined the much less strenuous, albeit entertaining, world of HR. Food is still at the forefront of my mind as I continue to cook and love all things food. Enjoy!
This entry was posted in eggplant, food, herbs & spices, italian, pesto, recipes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Baked Eggplant

  1. I always layer the eggplant. This looks great and good to see a post from you.

  2. Karen says:

    Your eggplant dish sounds great.

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