I lurve the hearty classic eggplant parmesan, layered with satisfyingly crispy fried slabs of breaded vegetable and dripping with gooey cheese. Sadly, Peter and I are both trying to, well if not lose weight, at least put a stop to the steady increases, plus the thought of standing in my hot kitchen and frying it all up was more than I could bear.
So armed with some garlic, and that pesto I made last week, I set out to deconstruct the classic.
What I wound up with was quick to assemble, delicious and very fresh tasting.
Sadly any savings in calories was probably offset by the third helping I stuffed into my mouth at the counter while I was loading the dishwasher.
Roasted Eggplant Parmesan
For the Eggplant
4 medium eggplant(s)
3 tablespoons kosher salt
5 tablespoons olive oil, more or less
For the Sauce
1 15 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Mix together and set aside at room temperature
1 cup ricotta
3 tablespoons pesto
1/2 cup Parmesan
1 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Slice the eggplant into slices about 1/3 inch thick. Layer in a colander with liberal sprinklings of salt. Set aside for 1/2 hour. This step removes the bitter juices from the eggplant.
Rinse the eggplant well to remove the salt and pat dry.
Smear 1-2 tablespoons olive oil on 2 cookie sheets and place eggplant onto the sheets in a single layer.
Roast undisturbed for 20 minutes.
Turn and continue roasting for an additional 20 minutes. Eggplant should be soft in the center and nicely browned.
Turn the oven down to 350 degrees.
Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the tomato mixture into the bottom of a 9X11 baking pan.
Top with a layer of eggplant slices to cover completely.
Mix together the ricotta with the egg, Parmesan and pesto. Spoon half of this mixture over the eggplant. Spoon more of the tomatoes over the top.
Repeat the layers:
Cover the top with the shredded mozzarella. Bake, uncovered for 25 minutes until center is heated through and cheese is melted.
Pass more Parmesan at the table.