Tuesday Treat – Eggplant Lasagna

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The hubby is bringing in eggplants like crazy. I am canning them into eggplant tapenade but I am also using them in different recipes. One night I went all out and made an eggplant lasagna. I made it up as I went along and it turned out to be one of the best lasagnas I had ever made. It is now an annual tradition when the eggplants come in.

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Eggplant Lasagna

8 – 12 lasagna noodles depending on size, homemade or boxed
eggplants – if using Italian 2 large, if using Japanese 6 – 8
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes, optional
16 oz tub ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1/4 cup pesto or 1/4 cup chopped basil and 2 cloves minced garlic
16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
olive oil
salt
If making your own pasta:
7 oz flour – a mix of semolina and all purpose
3 eggs
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
Bechamel Sauce
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 quart milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup dry sherry (optional)

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Make the Pasta:

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I made my lasagna noodles. If you are making yours mix the flours and salt and make a well in the center. Add the eggs and olive oil and stir with a fork. Gradually bring the flour into the egg mixture until you have incorporated it all. Knead for about 10 minutes and let rest for about an hour.

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While the pasta dough is resting roast the eggplant.
Heat the oven to 400°
Slice the eggplants into slices about 1/4″ thick. Place them on baking sheets and sprinkle with salt.
Brush the slices with olive oil on both sides.
Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes and turn the slices over. Roast for 15 – 20 more minutes until very soft and lightly browned. Set aside
Mix the ricotta with the egg and pesto or garlic and basil. Set aside.

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Start a large pot of salted water heating to a boil for cooking the noodles.
Make the bechamel.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
Add the flour and stir until it forms a paste.
Slowly add the milk, whisking the entire time to avoid lumps.
Cook over low heat until the mixture thickens. Add the cheese and sherry if using.
Taste and add salt if needed. Set aside.

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Set oven to 350°
Spray the bottom of your lasagna pan with cooking spray.
Whether you are using homemade noodles or box noodles barely cook them – you want them to be very al dente.
Place two or three noodles on the bottom of the pan – I have found that with homemade noodles you only need two, with box noodles you need three.
Then you can start layering your lasagna. I will admit that each time I make this it is a little different depending upon what I have on hand when I make it. This time I the layers after the noodles were:
roasted eggplant
ricotta mixture, spread on top
bechamel
mozzarella
fresh tomatoes

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Repeat until the pan is full. The last layer should be noodles topped by bechemel with mozzarella on top. Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray and cover the lasagna. Place it on a heavy duty baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes.

eggplant lasagna recipe, eggplant recipe, what to do with the eggplant harvest

Carefully remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes until the top is lightly browned and bubbly.
Remove from the oven and let the lasagna sit for 10 – 15 minutes before you cut it.

How Was It?

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It was really, REALLY good. All of the different layers came together in one creamy, delicious bite. The pasta maintained its integrity and as you saw in the photos I really didn’t use a lot of cheese so it didn’t overwhelm the eggplant. 

This is a truly rich and delicious recipe. The eggplant lasagna is even better on the next day and as a bonus – this freezes beautifully. The hubby and usually eat it two nights in a row and then I cut it up into portions for the freezer. I let it thaw and then heat it in a baking pan with just a little water in the bottom. It tastes as if I had just made it up fresh.
 

More Eggplant Recipes:

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Eggplant “Tapenade” for Canning

Eggplant Pizza

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