Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Eggplant Parmesan Bake

As you know, I am a huge Pinterest fan. Pinterest keeps me laughing and keeps me fed. Not even kidding. I feel like half the meals I cook come from pins or ideas based on pins. One of my recent favorites is this one: Eggplant Ricotta Bake from marthastewart.com.

You can find the full original recipe at the link above. It really is worth your time! Even if you think you don't like eggplant, I highly encourage you to give this a try. As for me, I made some adjustments (mostly because I bought the wrong amount of some ingredients) and my recipe is below. Also, I've renamed it Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna because I feel that 'Eggplant Ricotta Bake' doesn't do it justice.



Vegetarian Eggplant Lasagna
1 large eggplant
Salt & Pepper
Garlic Powder
Oil (I used safflower, but I'm sure olive oil would be great, too!)
1 tub of ricotta (14oz?)
1 T.(?) of Oregano (use your judgement, I don't actually know how much I added)
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups of Parmesan cheese
1/2 jar of marinara sauce

First, preheat your oven to 375F. Next, slice your eggplant. I cut mine in rounds, but if you're using a rectangular oblong dish, slicing them lengthwise might be better. (I don't actually own a casserole dish, so I used a glass pie plate).  Grease a jelly roll pan (or in my words: a cookie sheet with sides) with oil, lay the slices of eggplant in a single layer on the pan and make sure both sides are brushed lightly with the oil (again, in my words: drizzle with oil and just rub them down). Also, season both sides of the eggplant with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Roast the eggplant for about 25 minutes in the oven (turning over halfway through).

While the eggplant is roasting, mix together the ricotta, the eggs, oregano and one cup of the Parmesan. This lovely mixture will be part of your filling. Set it to the side and wait for your eggplant to finish roasting.

This is where you need to stop what you're doing and just eat some eggplant. Seriously. I'd never really cooked with eggplant before so I tentatively tried one of the smaller rounds. Holy cow (and other more emphatic words that definitely apply but I will refrain from using at this time). Delicious. DELICIOUS.

Once you get over how amazing the eggplant tastes, you can start assembling your lasagna. Because I forgot to buy two eggplants like the original recipe told me to, my layers are a little bit off. But essentially, you want to follow this pattern:  sauce, eggplant, cheese mixture, eggplant. Repeat this until you run out of eggplant. The only rule is that you must end with the cheese mixture on top. Once you smooth out your final cheese layer, top with Parmesan cheese and then put in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes (or until the cheese is starting to brown and is nice and bubbly).

Look at those layers! Yum!

I let mine brown more than other people might like, but it was still delicious!


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