GUEST POST: Lori’s (my Ma’s!) Eggplant Lasagna

February 1, 2010 § 1 Comment

Regina asked me to be a “guest contributor” on her food blog after I made this Eggplant Lasagna recipe.  I agreed to do it, but I must admit, I approached the task with a little trepidation. Do I admit that I don’t always buy rbST hormone-free cheese when I can get it cheaper at Sam’s club?  Or that I bought organically grown eggplant this time, but only because it was the same price as the tainted stuff?    And, photographing each “step”   —   do I really want the world to see how my sauce overflowed from the food processor onto the floor?    I’ll cut to the chase and save myself further embarrassment:

Guest Contributor: Mom
Adapted from original recipe posted by Danny Boome on Allrecipes.com

Serves 6-8

Ingredients for Lasagna

2 large eggplants, sliced lengthwise 3/4 inch thick (8 slices)
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for baking dish
sea salt, pepper
1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon basil or thyme, chopped
15 oz whole milk ricotta cheese (I tried low fat, too; it’s good either way)
3 eggs
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, divided
2 tablespoons oregano leaves, fresh
2 cups Nona’s Marinara Sauce (see below)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees; prepare 9 x 13 baking by brushing a little olive oil on bottom and sides.

2.  Arrange sliced eggplant in a single layer on 2 baking pans. Brush olive oil on both sides (3 tablespoons or so) and season with salt and pepper.  Roast the eggplant until it is soft and golden.  Turn slices halfway through.  (I cooked them for about 25 minutes, total.)

3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the sliced mushrooms. Saute about 7 minutes, until soft. Add the minced garlic and chopped basil (or thyme). Cook another 2 minutes.  Once the mushrooms are cooked, remove and set aside to cool.

4. In a large bowl, add the ricotta, eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan, oregano, mushrooms, 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Mix well.

5. Make Nona’s Marinara Sauce (instructions below).

6. Spread half of the marinara sauce on the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Lay 4 slices of eggplant on top of the sauce, followed by ricotta mixture.  Lay another 4 slices of eggplant and finish with remaining marinara sauce.  Top with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan.  Bake until golden brown at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes or so before slicing.

Nona’s Marinara Sauce
5 cloves garlic
sea salt, pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup basil leaves
2 tablespoons oregano or parsley, fresh
1 (28 oz) can crushed or plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Directions for Marinara Sauce:

1. Peel 5 cloves garlic and place them in a square of foil.   Sprinkle the cloves with salt and pepper and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Wrap up the foil (I would suggest double wrapping so that no oil will leak out) and place it directly on the oven rack.  Roast the garlic until it is brown and tender, about 25 minutes.  Allow to cool enough to touch and squeeze the garlic from the skins. Set aside.

2. Saute onions and carrots with the oil in a medium saucepan.  Add tomato paste and stir well. This will cook off the tomato paste.  Cook for about 10 minutes. When the vegetables are softened, add the roasted garlic, salt, pepper, basil, oregano and maple sugar (or sugar) and stir together until incorporated. Pour in the tomatoes. Fill the empty can with water (28 oz) and add it it to the pan.  (I added an extra tablespoon of tomato paste to thicken it a bit.) Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour, uncovered.  Stir occasionally. Once sauce is ready, carefully*  pour it into the food processor and puree until smooth or slightly chunky.  (* When I first made this recipe, apparently I overlooked the “carefully” part. My sauce was everywhere.)

Diet Notes: Gluten-free, nut-free

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