Normally reluctant when it comes to preparing vegetables I gave up in my early teens. Eggplant was just never one of those vegetables that fared well with my palette, but these days I’m all about giving certain foods a second chance, and this time, I’m so glad I did. This hearty eggplant is a healthy take on the usual comfort food, and its ability to absorb the savory flavors of the sauce make it quite ideal. Turns out this fruit layered between some non-fat ricotta, mozzarella, homemade sauce, and a few layers of pasta isn’t so bad after all, especially when paired with a glass of dry red.
Eggplant and Sun-dried Tomato Lasagna
adapted from Saveur Magazine, Serves 6-8
1 eggplant, thinly sliced
1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes
1 shallot, chopped
Salt and pepper
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley, and some for garnish
1 tbsp. chopped oregano
1/2 tbsp. chopped thyme
1/2 tbsp. chopped rosemary
1/2 tbsp. tomato paste
3 cups whole canned tomatoes, crushed
9 sheets of lasagna noodles
1/2 cups grated parmesan
3 cups low-fat mozzarella
16 ounce non-fat ricotta
Grease a 9″x 13″ baking pan with 1 tbsp. butter. Cover dried tomatoes with 1 cup boiling water; soak for 20 minutes. Drain. Chop; set aside.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add one-third of the eggplant and cook for 2-3 minutes each side or until golden and tender. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat, in 2 more batches, with the remaining oil and eggplant. Add dried tomatoes, garlic, parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and tomato paste; cook 3 minutes. Add canned tomatoes. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set sauce aside.
Pre-heat oven at 375˚. Cover the bottom of a a 3 qt. or 6×9 in baking dish with 2 cups of the sauce, creating a thin layer. Then place lasagna noodles over the sauce. This will be the base of your lasagna. Now, begin the layering process. Top the base with 1/4 (4 ounces)of the ricotta, 1/4 of the eggplants, 1/4 (1/2 cup) of the mozzarella, 1/4 of the tomato sauce (doesn’t have to be in that order). Then another layer of noodles. Repeat this process 2-3 more times, finishing the top layer with cheese, and making sure to leave 1/2 an inch at the top to insure that lasagna doesn’t boil over. Bake covered with foil on a baking sheet for 1 hour. Remove foil; raise oven to 500˚. Bake until golden, 15 minutes.
Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan and parsley.