Monday, October 06, 2008

Baked Lasagna with Eggplant (Lasagna al forno)

The Piggly Wiggly had beautiful eggplants (Steve insists there is no such thing) in the produce section on Saturday so I bought one thinking I'd decide later what to make with it. I found a recipe for eggplant lasagna in the cookbook, Italian Vegetarian Cooking, by Paola Gavin. (I modified the lasagna recipe slightly - used dried lasagna noodles instead of making them fresh, and skipped the bechamel sauce.)

Baked Lasagna with Eggplant
1 large eggplant, 1 to 1 1/2 pounds
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups tomato sauce (recipe follows)
1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
7 or 8 lasagna noodles

Tomato Sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh basil, or 1/2 teaspoon dried.
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
3 cups canned plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the garlic, basil, and parsley for one minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, uncovered, over high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the sauce starts to thicken, mashing tomatoes gently with a fork as they cook. Makes enough sauce for one pound of pasta.

I made almost a double recipe of the sauce.

For the lasagna:
Peel the eggplant and slice into thin lengthwise slices. Sprinkle with salt. Set in a colander and leave to release the bitter juices for 1 hour. Wash off salt and pat slices dry with paper towels.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the eggplant, a few slices at a time, until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Oil a large shallow baking dish and arrange a layer of lasagna noodles over the bottom. Cover well with tomato sauce so the dried pasta will absorb the liquid as it bakes. Add a layer of fried eggplant, some more sauce, and a layer of mozzarella cheese. Repeat until all ingredients are used, ending with a layer of sauce on top of the mozzarella cheese. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Serves 6.

This was so good that I'm making it again tonight, but with spaghetti squash instead of pasta.

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Blogger Wool Winder said...

That sounds good!

8:37 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

And it was just as good with the spaghetti squash!

8:46 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

I was hoping you would post this recipe.

So, your second dish was a combo of eggplant and spaghetti squash?

I have often thought of substituting spaghetti squash for the pasta with my regular meatball sauce.

Usually I serve zucchini with spaghetti and meatballs. And for myself I use the zucchini as my base.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I have used spaghetti squash in place of pasta for spaghetti and meatballs, so I thought it would work for this recipe, too. It just soaked up the tomato sauce flavors and was delicious. We used less cheese this time, too, and it was still incredibly delicious.

In a casserole dish I layered the cooked spaghetti squash, half of the tomato sauce, the fried eggplant, the rest of the tomato sauce, and a bit of mozzarella cheese. Baked it for about 25 minutes at 350 and served it. The girls and I loved it - the men said "no thanks!"

9:34 AM  

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