Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Eggplant Bolognese Bake

My new year begins with messing up a normal Italian recipe, giving it a twist. Plain old eggplant parmesan takes on new flavors with a bolognese sauce in place of marinara. And why not? The old begets the new. This decade will be filled with innovative ideas, most of which I will not be a part of! The little I can create in my kitchen will hold me in good stead! So the meal begins with this kooky idea.

I make a hearty bolognese with beef and crushed tomatoes. Eggplant slices are egged, breaded and fried in very little oil. I spray the slices with canola oil since they need to have a crusty exterior as they will soften in the oven. They are layered in a baking dish with the sauce, fresh mozzarella and ricotta cheese. Covered and baked, it smells of all things Italian. All we need is a salad and garlic bread. E Si Parte!

Serves 4

1 large Eggplant
1 Egg
Canola Oil Spray
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 white Onion
2 Garlic cloves
1 28 oz can crushed Tomatoes
1 pound ground Beef
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
Fresh Basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
1 ball fresh Mozzarella or regular Mozzarella
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese

Cut eggplant into 1/4 inch slices.

Beat egg lightly.

Heat a nonstick pan over low heat. 

Spray with canola oil.

Dip eggplant in egg. 

Then coat with breadcrumbs and place in saucepan. Fry 4-5 slices at a time. 

Brown eggplant will golden. Before you flip the slices, spray them with oil spray. Fry till crisp and golden. 

Finish frying all the slices in this manner.

Make the bolognese. Heat olive oil in a deep saucepan.

Chop onion  and garlic roughly. Add to olive oil. Saute for 2 minutes.

Add ground beef, break up large chunks and saute till it is no longer pink.

Add crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil,  salt and pepper.  Let the sauce come to a boil, lower flame and simmer for 15 minutes.

Assemble the bake by coating the bottom of a casserole with a few ladles of sauce. 

Cover the sauce with slices of eggplant.

Spoon sauce  over eggplant.

Arrange mozzarella and small dollops of ricotta over sauce. 

Start a second layer in the same manner.  Continue if you have enough for a third layer.

End the layers with mozzarella and ricotta. 

Cover tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes.

Serve hot with a salad and garlic bread. 

The bake is surprisingly delicious. The sauce pairs well with meaty eggplant.  An apt new year beginning..