Thursday, August 21, 2014

Eggplant Lasagna

This is a recipe I came up with about six years ago when I was attempted to cut down on carbs. While I'm obviously back on the carbs (See sourdough posts here, here, here, and here. Yep that's still going on. Side note, when did this blog become a sourdough blog??), this recipe has stayed in my cycle. I especially like to make use of it right after tomato camp when I'm flush with spaghetti sauce. Here are the instructions:

2 eggplants
1 jar marinara sauce
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 cup mozzarella cheese (or more, if you're feeling cheesy)

Step 1: Prepare the eggplant.

The most important technique here is getting out all the excess moisture from the eggplant. If you don't, it will end up mushy and your lasagna will be very liquidy, so take you time with this step. First, slice the eggplant longways, about 1/8" thick. If you have a mandolin, by all means, use it, but just make sure to use the "thick" setting. If the eggplant slices are too thin, they will just disintegrate.

After slicing, I lay down two paper towels and sprinkle salt on them. Then I lay down the eggplant slices on top of the salted paper towels and sprinkle more salt on top of the slices. I have a modicum of counter space in my kitchen, so I layer paper towel, salt, eggplant, salt, paper towel, salt, eggplant, 
etc. (Be careful here! This is not your lasagna. Don't get confused and try to eat it. )

I let the paper towel lasagna sit for about 30-45 minutes or until I can see a lot of water beads on the top eggplant. That means the salt is sucking the moisture out. Then I press the paper towels to soak up any more liquid, dust as much salt off the pieces as I can, and bake the slices on a greased pan in a 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes. 

Step 2: Stations

While that's baking, I set up my stations: cheese and sauce. My cheese station is the ricotta, egg, and parmesan mixed together. You could also just use shredded mozzarella here. If you're a certified Pattiwagoneer, you know my sauce station. (Hint: It's canning camp sauce.)

Step 3: Build it. 

When the eggplant is a little browned, I take it out of the oven. Now I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and start building.

Start with a layer of sauce.

Add a layer of eggplant and a layer of the ricotta mixture.

If I'm feeling extra cheesy, then I'll also put a layer of shredded mozzarella on here.

Keep layering until you've used up all your eggplant. Then end with a layer of shredded mozzarella. Bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the edges are bubbly and the top is beautifully toasty.

You can enjoy it now or let it cool and put it in your freezer. It's a great treat to have on hand. Feel free to experiment with other veggies. I've added squash, zucchini, and mushrooms. All delicious! Enjoy!

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