Eggplant with Tomatoes, Ricotta, and Parmigiano-Reggiano from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Healthy Cooking submitted by Nicole Martinsen
1 globe eggplant, about 1 1/2 lb Kosher Salt 4 tsp extra virgin olive oil 2 T finely chopped yellow onion 1/2 tsp minced garlic 1 can (14.5 oz) whole or diced tomatoes with juice 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves Freshly ground pepper 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese 2 T grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 2 T shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Cut off the stem end of the eggplant. Stand it it upright on the cut end, cut the eggplant vertically into 8 slices, each about 1/2 inch thick. Finely chop the outer slices, which are mostly skin, and reserve. Sprinkle both sides of the 8 slices lightly with salt and layer them in a colander set over a plate. Place a second plate on top to weigh them down and let stand for 1-2 hours. Rinse the slices well and pat dry with paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Lightly brush both sides of each eggplant slice, using 2 tsp of the live oil for all of the slices. arrange the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. bake them until the bottoms are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Meanwhile, in a large, nonstick frying pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 tsp oil. add the onion and reserved eggplant and saute, stirring, until tender, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and their juice and half of the basil and bring to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring, until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4 tsp salt and season with pepper. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses and a grind of pepper. Stir to blend.
Have ready a shallow 1-1/2 quart baking dish. Place 4 of the eggplant slices in a single layer in the dish. Divide the cheese mixture evenly among the eggplant slices, spreading it slightly. Top with half of the tomato mixture, dividing it evenly among the slices, then top with the remaining 4 slices of eggplant. Spoon the remaining tomato mixture over the top, dividing evenly. Sprinkle evenly with the mozzarella.
Cover the dish and bake 25 minutes, until heated through and bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining basil before serving.
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