Happy New Year all!
A few days before Christmas we received a box of foodie goods from my brother and sis-in-law. We have been receiving a box of goodies from them for three years running now and if you’d like to see a sampling of what we got last year, you can check here.
We got most of the same stuff but a few different things, including a giant eggplant. On the same day that this box arrived, Chef P and I had been in London at Borough Market and picked up a selection of fresh veg, cheeses and charcuterie. Needless to say, we were loaded down with lots of food! We’ve been trying to use as much of it as possible because as you know, we hate to waste food, especially really good, tasty foods as what we have. We didn’t do pizza last Friday so we did pizza last Sunday…gourmet pizza! We used the Italian salami we got at the market, including capicola, prosciutto, and fennel salami, smoked garlic (from the market), and fresh mozzarella (from the ‘box’), along with fresh basil and oregano, also from the ‘box’.
Also in the ‘box’ was the huge eggplant I mentioned above. I had bought some ricotta cheese to use for our Christmas Cheer evening, but I didn’t get around to making what I was going to. So I was thinking….I had eggplant, ricotta, mozzarella, fresh basil and oregano and all I needed was some homemade tomato sauce for the making of some eggplant lasagna…yum!
This is one of those recipes that you can just throw together without the problem of measuring anything, although I’ve given some to help you out a bit. If you want to use a jarred sauce, please feel free, but you have to admit, home made is ALWAYS best. I’ve given the recipe I use for the homemade sauce should you feel inspired to make your own. It’s easy peasy to do, but does take about 90 minutes to cook, so get this started while you take on the other parts.
- olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3-4 fresh basil leaves, torn or 1 tsp dried
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano or fresh if you have it
- 28oz/800g canned chopped tomatoes
- salt, about 1/2 tsp or to taste
- 1 tsp sugar
In a large saucepan, fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine, cover and bring to the boil. Stir and reduce heat to low and simmer for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- olive oil
- 1 large eggplant, thinly sliced about the thickness of a pound coin or a bit thicker than a quarter)
- 18oz/500g ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp (or more) grated Parmesan
- 8oz/225g mozzarella, grated or sliced (I used buffalo mozzarella and just tore pieces off)
Preheat oven to 180°c/350°f.
In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, egg and grated Parmesan and set aside.
Drizzle olive oil over two large baking sheets. Place the slices of eggplant on the baking sheets in a single layer then drizzle over some more olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.
Remove and leave to sit until the sauce is done.
When the sauce is done, taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary and remove from heat. Put one large ladle of sauce into the ricotta mixture and stir to combine.
Using a baking dish about 6″X9″ or roughly that size, put a ladle of sauce in the bottom, then a layer of eggplant. Put about 3-4 spoonfuls of ricotta mix on top and spread over. Then put another layer of sauce, eggplant and ricotta and repeat until all is used, ending with a layer of sauce.
Spread the mozzarella over the top to cover and place the baking dish on a baking sheet. I do this in case it bubbles over and it’s better that it bubbles over on the pan rather than on the bottom of your oven!
You can leave it to sit at this point until you’re ready to bake it. If you start to get some water on the sides of the dish (from the tomatoes), just soak it up with a paper towel.
Preheat oven to 180°c/350°f. Bake for 45-60 minutes until golden and bubbly. Remove from oven and leave to rest about 10-15 minutes before serving.
(Sorry, I do not have an ‘after baking’ photo as I forgot to take one!)