ELYSA'S EASY EGGPLANT CASSEROLE
I ADORE eggplant. This year we grew some in our garden for the first time. We went a bit exotic and so had fun seeing our unusually shaped babies grow. The one above was a favorite since it looks like a purple donut! I figured there might be others out there who are also eggplant fans and since its the time of year for them to be plentiful, I thought a recipe might be in order. A year or two ago, I came up with an easy eggplant dish. If you like eggplant parmigiana but don't like all the work, frying, or high fat involved, here's a version that might be "fake" in technique, but punches "real" taste satisfaction. Just be warned, this is one of my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-capris recipes, so there aren't any exact amounts used. On to the recipe:
I sliced up the eggplant, dusted it with Italian seasoned bread crumbs mixed with whole wheat flour, salt, and pepper.
I heated up just enough healthy cooking oil (olive, safflower, grape seed, etc.) to cover a skillet (don't do more as the eggplant soaks it up and you'll get really oily eggplants) and then over medium heat, cooked the eggplant slices til they were lightly browned and soft to the touch. After each panful of eggplants, you'll have to add more oil.
As the eggplants are cooking, cook up a potful of angel hair pasta and your favorite vegetarian spaghetti or marinara sauce. Mine was simply a large can of tomato paste, some water, Italian herbs, salt and pepper, a bit of ketchup, and some water.
When the pasta is cooked, drain and put in the bottom of a large, rectangular casserole dish. Put a thin layer of sauce over the pasta. Then layer your cooked eggplant slices. Dollop the rest of the sauce over each eggplant and grate cheese over the top of the dish. Cheddar, Gouda, or mozzarella would all be fine choices.
Your casserole is going to be warm so all you have to do is put it in a hot oven (mine was set at 350) until the cheese gets nice and melted.
Then just serve it up! I made this entire dish in about 30 minutes plus garlic toast and sauteed broccoli.
It looks fancy, but its really so easy and I love it...in fact, I love it so much that I've it for breakfast.
As an aside, I've also made an even EASIER version before (and yes, eaten it for breakfast, too!). Here's how it goes:
Do the same thing with your eggplant as above but leave off the breadcrumbs and flour. Use leftover pasta instead of cooking it up fresh. AND, instead of the sauce described above, use salsa mixed with Italian herbs and a little garlic salt and pepper. This is a good recipe for when you just want an individual serving. Simply adjust the amounts down to fit your appetite.