So, remember how impressive I am? How you’re so impressed with my abilities in the kitchen as well as my consistent hilarity and good looks? Yes?
That’s all. I just wanted to check.
This recipe resulted from a love of eggplant and Italian cooking. Basically Marinara. I love marinara. There is just something about that rich, tomato/basil/red wine concoction that really speeds up my heart rate. I don’t even care if that’s normal. I really don’t. If you don’t feel the same way, that’s on you. Not me.
Also, my love for Stauffer’s Lasagna is real and deep. I know that’s something I probably shouldn’t say when I am promoting my own blog and trying to get famous like Ina Garten but, it is.
Lying is forbidden here.
That frozen delicious brick is something that causes me to go into full-body shivers while it bakes a full hour and a half. It’s weird. I’ll admit it. But, after I come back from blacking out and realize I’ve eaten a whole family size portion, I feel a tiddly bit guilty. I honestly don’t know why.
Making your own lasagna using eggplant instead of noodles will save on so many carbs. BUT, the good thing is, you won’t feel like it. The marinara and rich bodied flavor of the eggplant will TOTALLY quench your desire for rich and hearty Italian food and you will barely be able to tell the difference. You heard it here, folks.
2 Medium-Large Eggplants, peeled
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 Can Marzano Style Tomatoes
1 Small Can Tomato Paste
2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced
½ Large White Onion, diced
Fresh Parsley, chopped
Cracked Red Pepper, to taste
½ Cup Dry Red Wine
1 Large Container Reduced-Fat Ricotta Cheese
1 Large Egg
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
½ Tablespoon Garlic Powder
This seems like a lot of ingredients and time but really, it’s not. Promise. Super easy and really quick!
If you have never cooked with eggplant before…..first, let me say to not be afraid. Peal the purple skin off and slice it into about 1/8 inch slices. Despite the way it feels, it holds a lot of moisture that can make this dish a little weird. So, place a layer of paper towels under a single layer of eggplant slices. Cover them with a few layers of paper towels and a cookie sheet on top. If you have something kind of heavy to place inside the cookie sheet for added pressure, do that. You’ll notice pretty quickly that the eggplant starts to lose its moisture onto the paper towels.
Check back frequently and replace the paper towels if needed. You’ll want to let the eggplant “drain” for at least an hour. This process would be good to start on a lunch break, if you're forced to have a job like a peasant like me.
When you’re ready to get your cooking brilliance on, start your marinara by sautéing the onion and garlic in a sauce pan with a little Olive Oil. When they are tender, add the rest of your ingredients and stir really well. Let it cook uncovered over medium heat for about 20 minutes so that it can cook down and get pretty thick.
In a separate bowl, combine the ricotta, egg, and seasonings and stir really well.
Now, for the assembly. If you haven’t noticed, making this recipe is kinda messy and really fun. If you’re a messy cook like me, this is SUPER fun. And if you have an even larger peasant to clean up afterwards FOR you then.....let's just call your kitchen Six-Flags.
Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick spray and place a single layer of marinara in the bottom. You might have to overlap a little and that’s okay, but place your eggplant slices to fully cover the sauce. Cover that in the ricotta mixture. Repeat the process until you have filled up your dish. Cover with marinara and coat the top with shredded mozzarella like Ron Burgandy's hair depends on it.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes so that the cheese gets extra delicious and just a little golden.
When you’re ready to pull the pan, let it rest for about 15 minutes. Your mouth will thank you and it will be much easier to slice on out of that there pan.