Thursday, January 22, 2015

Eggplant Lasagna

I posted this on FB the other day and I've had so many emails asking about it I thought I'd blog about it.   I want you to know that cooking good food doesn't have to take a long time.  It makes me sad that so many people order out because they don't have time or don't think they can cook.

This is an eggplant lasagna from The Italian Dish.  If you haven't checked out her blog - you should.  She has some great recipes that reminds me of family dishes.... YUM.   And, I want you to know that you can follow her recipe on the link above or I have a simpler version that is just as good.

My first recommendation would be to use your own sauce or use momma ferraro's sauce which I posted about earlier.  Her recipe is good too,  I'm just partial to my own. :)   Her recipe calls for "ricotta salata" which is basically hardened ricotta that you can grate but may not be able to find.  I used whole ricotta which you can find in any grocery store and this worked out great.

What I'm super excited about are these oven ready lasagne noodles from Barilla.  You don't have to cook them before you get started.  Take them out of the box, use plenty of sauce, layer your ingredients and pop it in the oven! You layer the noodles without cooking them.  That means you can be oven ready in a jiff!
Take a large eggplant, I peeled mine, chop into smaller pieces, toss in some olive oil, add a little sea salt and pop in the oven at 425 degrees for about 25 min.  Halfway through, stir them around so they all get soft.
While this is baking, take 8 oz whole milk ricotta (you can use skim, I just like creamy whole), add an egg a little salt and pepper and a tsp of basil and mix together.

Take a 13x9 pan and place enough sauce to cover the bottom.  Since you are softening your noodles as you bake, don't skimp on the sauce. That is what will cook them. Place your uncooked noodles on the bottom. Add little spoonfuls of ricotta and spread out.  Then add some eggplant, fresh basil leaves (if you have them) and sauce to cover.  Do this three more times.  Cover your last layer with a good amount of sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella, Cover with foil and cook on 425 for 30 minutes.  Take off foil and cook for another 10.  Let it sit for about 15 minutes before serving.

Now look.....if you don't like eggplant, then don't make this and email me saying that you didn't like the eggplant. :)  It's an eggplant lasagna..... If you want to use sausage, or hamburger or mushrooms, or spinach, in it's place, it's the same recipe.  Just swap out your eggplant for your choice of meat/veggies. But for you eggplant lovers....this is very good.

You can put this together in under 30 minutes.

Barilla Oven Ready Lasagne Noodles
Spaghetti Sauce, momma's or your own
1 large Egg Plant
Olive Oil
Basil Leaves (not a deal breaker...but a definite taste booster)

8oz Ricotta - whole or skim
1 egg
1 tsp dry basil, salt and pepper (use about a tsp each in the ricotta)

Good food doesn't have to take a long time to prepare.  Try it.  You and your family will be happy you did.