I chose oregano as the featured herb for my Weekend Herb Blogging entry hosted this week by Scott of Real Epicurean. Fresh oregano, not dried. I cook with oregano all the time but I barely ever buy it fresh. That will be changing. The fresh oregano that I added to ricotta cheese to make an Eggplant Ricotta Bake really made the dish.
Last week Everyday Food on PBS featured this healthy recipe and I new I wanted to make it sometime this week. I have been trying to cook with eggplant in different ways. While watching this recipe being prepared, it seemed to me that it was like an eggplant lasagna. Eggplant was being used instead of any noodles. It is stacked between tomato sauce and ricotta cheese layers.
Since it is made in an 8x8 dish, I made four portions of out it. I had it right out of the oven last night and really loved it. But it was even better when I had some leftovers for lunch! This is a great meal to make and take to work during the week. I think the flavors melded together a little bit more, plus the shape held together better after it cooled completely. This is a healthy meal that is filling without making you overly full.
Eggplant Ricotta Bake (serves 4)
2 large eggplanats (1 to 1 ¼ pounds each), sliced lengthwise ¾ inch thick
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for baking dish
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 container (15 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
(1 2/3 cups)
3 large eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 jar (16 ounces) store-bought marinara sauce (2 cups)
Preheat oven to 450°. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on two rimmed baking sheets. Brush lightly on both sides with oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until eggplant is tender and golden, turning halfway through, 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta, eggs, ½ cup Parmesan, oregano, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, and ¼ teaspoons pepper. Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with oil.
Lay a fourth of eggplant slices in bottom of prepared dish; spread with half of marinara sauce. Top with another fourth of eggplant; spread with half of ricotta mixture. Repeat layers, ending with ricotta; sprinkle with remaining ½ cup Parmesan. Bake until bubbling and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.