Saturday, January 20, 2007

Eggplant Ricotta Bake

fresh oregano
Oregano: widely used in Greek and Italian cuisines

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.

Everyday Food's Eggplant Ricotta Bake
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.


Lilandra said...

It's a take on the eggplant parmigiana or eggplant parmesan
I think

especially with mozzarella

Lilandra said...

i like your picture much better

Kalyn said...

This sounds like a fantastic dish. I love the idea of using eggplant instead of the noodles. Great post for WHB.

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

Excellent recipe - a very traditional Italian combination.

Meeta said...

I just love eggplant. With ricotta and oregano I can only begin to imagine how gorgeous this must taste!

Erin said...

Yum! I am definitely going to check this out. I LOVE the Everyday Food magazine, although I've never been able to catch the show.

rachel said...

I'm always looking for new ways to make eggplant and this just looked so good and healthy. I just had my last piece for lunch today and it's just as good! Everyone was jealous of my lunch as they heated up their frozen dinners :)

andrea joseph's sketchblog said...

Oooh this does sound good!

Anonymous said...

I've been drooling over this one since I saw it made on Everyday Food. I keep refering to it as it eggplant lasagna!

I'm thinking of doubling this for a party, and want to put together the day or two before, and bake up on the day of the party. Have you tried that? I'm imagining it would hold up fine, but don't want to ruin it the first time out.

rachel said...

I cooked it up and ate leftover for three days! I held up perfect and was good both cool and warm. I thought it tasted even better after it had time to settle. Would be perfect for entertaining.