Well, it happened again. I set out to follow a recipe and end up doing my own thing. I may never know how an original recipe actually tastes.
Inspired by an Eggplant Roll recipe and this marinara recipe, I came up with the following Eggplant lasagna, or non- rollatini. Rolls would have been cool, but I felt my eggplant slices were too small and it would make it more work than it was worth. The resulting bake (I hate to use the word casserole) was absolutely delicious. Not to toot my own horn, but I seriously felt it was restaurant quality. This makes a HUGE amount, so this would be a good dish to make for a crowd.
KKF Eggplant: Unrolled!
For the unrolls:
3 large eggplant, sliced ¼ inch to 3/8 inch thick
1 head of garlic, smashed and removed from skins
3/4 cup olive oil
2 cups of yogurt cheese (yogurt that has had most of the whey strained out. If you don’t have or don’t want this, you can use ricotta and have the same impact.)
1 cup of cottage cheese (or ricotta)
1 ½ cups grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella plus some for topping the dish
A handful of minced fresh basil
1 pound ground pork
1 t salt
1 T Italian seasoning
Black pepper to taste
For the marinara:
3 T olive oil
6 cloves of the garlic used in the eggplant marinade, minced
26 oz canned diced tomatoes
16 oz can tomato sauce
7 oz can tomato paste
½ c diced mushrooms
¾ cup red wine
1 t salt
Pepper to taste
1. Toss eggplant rounds with smashed garlic cloves and the olive oil. Marinate for two hours, tossing half way through.
2. Cook the ground pork with the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Cool to room temperature.
3. Place eggplant rounds in a single layer on baking sheets and put in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.
4. Sauté the garlic and mushrooms in the olive oil until the garlic starts to brown. Add all the other marinara ingredients and let simmer 10 to 15 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, mix the cheeses, basil and seasoned ground pork.
6. Take a large casserole dish (I used a 9 x 11, deep dish) or two smaller dishes and put together the layers thusly: cover the bottom of the dish with marinara, then do a layer of eggplant. It’s ok if it doesn’t cover the whole bottom. Put a big dallop of the cheese/pork mix on top of each round, then press another eggplant round on top (not too hard, just flatten it out a bit). Repeat until you run out of rounds, with the cheese mix being the top layer.
7. Pour the rest of the marinara sauce all over the stacks of eggplant and top with the rest of the mozzarella.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until hot and bubbly throughout.