Thursday, May 14, 2009

Eggplant Ricotta Bake

Eggplant ricotta bake slice

I don’t get to sit down and watch TV as much as I used to B.C. (before children). There were a lot of TV shows that I loved and watched faithfully back in the 90’s. Northern Exposure was one of my absolute favorites. I miss it. I’m always tempted to purchase all 6 season’s on DVD each time I see them in Sam’s Club, but when would I have time to sit down and watch hours upon hours of TV? I barely have enough time now to watch the shows I tape. What’s that you say? “Oh Lisa tell us, we are so curious to know, what shows do you tape each week and try to watch?”

Well let me start off my saying once the weather gets nice my TV watching drastically decreases to almost nil. We spend most nights in the yard by the fire during the warmer months. During the fall and winter I try to watch what’s on my DVR each week. Here’s my must see list: My Name is Earl, No Reservations, Barefoot Contessa, Good Eats, Big Love, Dexter and Heroes (I’m losing interest in Heroes as of late). Those are my “can’t miss” shows. I also love all the shows that makeover messy and filthy house. Makes my inner OCD cheer loudly! Thank goodness I can cut out all the commercials with the aid of that fast forward button. I end up watching most of those while I’m half asleep on the couch and then I end up re-watching the parts I missed on another day. How did I ever watch TV before I got my DVR?

One of the shows that I usually fast forward extra quickly through (yes there is a “turbo charge” on the fast-forward button) is Everyday Food. I like the show, but some of the recipes are just not appealing to me, so I turbo right through those suckers. Imagine my surprise when in the middle of a blurry speeding haze, I catch a glimpse of eggplant and cheese, ricotta cheese no less. Hmmmm, this put me into re-wind mode and led me to find this recipe for Eggplant Ricotta Bake. Like a lasagna but with eggplant instead of noodles.

I rewound, I watched, I baked, we ate.

Eggplant Ricotta Collage

Eggplant Ricotta Bake

Printable recipe
2 large eggplants (1 to 1 ¼ pounds each)
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper
1 container (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
(use whole milk for better results)
3 large eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (divided)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried)
1 jar spaghetti sauce (16 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 450. You are going to roast the eggplant on high heat.

Slice the eggplant lengthwise into ¾ inch pieces. You don’t need to peel them, but take off the ends! Lay them on 2 baking sheets that you have greased lightly with cooking spray. Brush oil on both sides of the eggplant and season with salt & pepper. Roast until eggplant is tender and golden, turning halfway through. This should take 10 to 15 minutes on each side. Keep an eye on them! You don’t want them to burn! Turn the oven down to 350.

Meanwhile in a medium bowl, stir together the ricotta, eggs, ½ cup of the Parmesan, oregano, seasonings and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Spray an 8x8 inch pan with cooking spray. Lay a forth of the eggplant slices in the bottom of the pan and spread with sauce. Top with another fourth of the eggplant and spread with ½ of the ricotta cheese mixture. Repeat the layers, ending with ricotta. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of Parmesan. Bake at 350 until bubbling and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let this cool at least 15 minutes before you cut into it or you will have a goopy mess, and no one wants that.
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