Monday, February 07, 2011

I love Italian food. I mean what is not to love about it. Italian food is flavorful, easy to make and there are a variety of meals to choose from. I mean if you think it is just pasta then you are sadly mistaken. Although there is nothing wrong with just pasta. There is nothing ever wrong with just pasta.

But I did do a happy little dance when I found a dish that incorporated eggplant. It is a favorite veggie of mine. Fried, used in a dip, baked, however an eggplant is cooked I will devour it.

Eggplant Ricotta Bake
Adapted from Shutter Bean

-2 large eggplants (about 1- 1 1/2lbs each)
-1 16oz jar of your favorite marinara sauce (I love Classico Tomato & Basil)
-1 15oz container ricotta cheese
-1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-1/2 cup chopped italian parsley
-1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-2 heaping teaspoons of oregano
-3 eggs
-salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut eggplant into rounds about 3/4 inch thick. Coat front and back with olive oil. Put eggplant on two baking sheets. Add salt & pepper. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes--flipping them half way. Eggplant should be nice and golden brown.

2. While eggplant bakes, mix the ricotta, eggs, spices & 1/2 cup of Parmesan together in a small bowl. Add some salt & pepper.

3. In an oven safe casserole dish, layer the bottom with a bit of the marinara sauce. Add 1 layer of your eggplant on top. Then add more sauce, and a layer of ricotta. Repeat until you run out of eggplant. Make sure the top layer is all ricotta filling. Add Parmesan and then put in the oven for 20 minutes. The top should be brown & the marinara should be bubbly. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. There's nothing worse than burning your mouth on marinara sauce.

Pair it with some crusty garlic bread and a nice salad....and you've got yourself a wonderful meal

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