Last night I tried out a new recipe from my "Essentials of Healthful Cooking" cook book and Jason and I loved it!! Despite the lengthy directions, it really was an easy dish to make - and according to my cookbook, it's high in protein and low in cholesterol, which is always a good thing. Pair this with a fresh salad or a side of pasta for a filling meal.
1 globe eggplant
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can (14 1/2 oz) whole or diced plum (Roma) tomatoes with juice
1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup (4 oz) part-skim ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese.
Cut off the stem end of the eggplant. Standing it upright on the cut end, cut the eggplant vertically into 8 slices, each about 1/2 inch thick. (I used my mandolin and it worked wonderfully.)Finely chop the outer slices, which are mostly skin, and reserve. (Instead of chopping by hand, I used my food processor.) Sprinkle both sides of the 8 eggplant slices lightly with salt and layer them in a colander set over a plate. Place a second plate on top to weight them down and let stand for 1-2 hours. Rinse the slices well and pat dry with paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 400.
Lightly brush both sides of each eggplant slice, using 2 teaspoons of the olive oil for all of the slices. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake them until the bottoms are lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Meanwhile, in a large, nonstick frying pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add the onion (which I also chopped in my food processor) and reserved copped eggplant and saute, stirring until tender, about 15 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and their juice and half of the basil and bring to a boil, breaking up the tomatoes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring, until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and season with pepper. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano and a grind of pepper and stir to blend.
Have ready a shallow, 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Place 4 of the eggplant slices in a single layer in the dish. Divide the ricotta mixture evenly among the eggplant slices, spreading it slightly. Top with half of the tomato mixture, dividing it evenly among the slices, the top with the remaining4 slices. Spoon the remaining tomato mixture over the top, dividing evenly. Sprinkle evenly with the mozzarella.
Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake until the sauce is bubbly and the eggplant is heated through, about 25 minutes. Remove from the 0ven and sprinkle with the remaining basil.