|Eggplant Ricotta Bake
This is another one of my favorite recipes that I'm sharing with you today! It's like an eggplant lasagna using eggplant as the noodles.
Generally, I'm not a fan of leftovers. I can eat leftovers for maybe a meal. If I'm stuck with more than two days with leftovers, chances are I get so sick of eating that dish that I won't make it again for a very long time. If ever. This is a great dish because it only has four servings, so it's a great dish where you don't get a lot of leftovers. And if you're single and just cooking for yourself, you can easily split this dish into two bread pans (9x5) so that you can bake one and freeze the other so that you can heat and serve later!
The original recipe doesn't call for salting the eggplant, but you should seriously consider it in case you get a bitter eggplant. Salting the eggplant and letting it sit releases the waters and is supposed to help get rid of some of the bitterness. You want your eggplant to have a mild and buttery taste, not a bitter taste.
I've had some success not salting the eggplant, but it takes only one time to make this with a bitter eggplant that you'll never go without salting eggplant again! Ugh, I did it once and had to throw away the ENTIRE pan. I was not a happy girl!
I will be MIA for the next week or so. My family is going to DC for my cousin Brandon's wedding and I don't plan on doing any baking for the time being! I'm going to be enjoying all the good food that's out there and hopefully will be able to share some pictures and stories when I return. This will also be the first time in over 15 years that my dad's siblings will all be together at the same time, so I'm really looking forward to all of the Quintanas and the Roysters being together!
|Right out of the oven
|Love all the cheese and sauce!
|My weekend lunch (no wine this time!)
Eggplant Ricotta Bake
Slightly adapted from Everyday Food
2 large eggplants (1 to 1 ¼ pounds each), sliced crosswise bout 3/4 inch thick (peeled)
3 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for baking dish
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 15 oz. container part-skim ricotta cheese
3 large eggs
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese, separated
1 tsp. dried oregano (if you really like oregano, you can use 2 tsp.)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 16 oz. jar store-bought marinara sauce (or 2 c. marinara of your choosing)
Preheat oven to 450.
Layer the eggplant slices on the bottom of a colander, then sprinkle liberally with coarse salt. Repeat with the rest of the eggplant, salting each layer. Place colander on bowl or plate with deep sides and let sit for 30 minutes to drain off the juice and get rid of the bitterness. After 30 minutes, rinse off salt and pat dry with paper towels. (You don't have to do this, but I really recommend doing to because if you get a bitter eggplant, you'll end up throwing away the entire pan. I have and wasn't too thrilled about it!)
Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on two rimmed baking sheets. Brush lightly on both sides with oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until eggplant is tender and golden, turning halfway through, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta, eggs, ½ cup Parmesan, oregano, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoons pepper. Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with oil.
Lay a fourth of eggplant slices in bottom of prepared dish; spread with half of marinara sauce. Top with another fourth of eggplant; spread with half of ricotta mixture. Repeat layers, ending with ricotta; sprinkle with remaining ½ cup Parmesan. Bake until bubbling and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 4 hearty servings!