Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thursday: Eggplant Parm

Pin It Now! I know most of you are reading the title of the dish and skipping on to the next thing on the menu.  Well, for one, this is the end of the menu for this week...and a little.

Many balk at the thought of eggplant...yep, me too...until I decided to suck it up and try something never know.  So, I did make this one night and man was I surprised!  It was really very good!  So be a little brave, surprise your family...don't even say what you're making, I bet they actually like it.  And for those of you who love eggplant, this is a killer dish.  And filling!  Serve with a nice green salad for bonus veggies and some crusty bread.

*Tip- this takes a bit of time to assemble, so if you don't have day time to prep (and I know most of you don't) save this for a nice weekend meal.

*Kid Korner:  let kids help out by having them dredge the eggplant pieces in the egg and Panko.  They can also help layer and add sauce and cheese.

  • YIELD: 10 servings (serving size: 1 slice)
  • COURSE: CasserolesMain Dishes
  • Eggplant:
  • large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 cups whole-wheat panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • (1-pound) eggplants, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • Cooking spray
  • Filling:
  • 1/2 cup torn fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • (16-ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese
  • large egg, lightly beaten
  • Remaining ingredients:
  • (24-ounce) jar premium pasta sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) finely grated fontina cheese
  • 1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  • 2. To make eggplant, combine 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon water in a shallow dish. Combine panko and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano in a second shallow dish. Dip eggplant in egg mixture; dredge in panko mixture, pressing gently to adhere and shaking off excess. Place eggplant 1 inch apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until golden, turning once and rotating baking sheets after 15 minutes.
  • 3. To make filling, combine basil and next 6 ingredients (through egg).
  • 4. To assemble, spoon 1/2 cup pasta sauce in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer half of eggplant slices over pasta sauce. Sprinkle eggplant with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Top with about 3/4 cup pasta sauce; spread half of ricotta mixture over sauce, and top with a third of mozzarella and 1/4 cup fontina. Repeat layers once, ending with about 1 cup pasta sauce. Cover tightly with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes. Remove foil; top with remaining third of mozzarella and 1/4 cup fontina. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and cheese melts; cool 10 minutes.
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