After I served this recipe to my family I really had to pass it along. I consider it a public service. It went over so well that there was a little discussion (euphemism for escalating argument with a little guilt thrown it, just shy of a full blown tantrum. I'm just talking about myself here. Everyone else was cool) about who got the leftovers. I won, of course.
This is not a recipe that you come home after work and throw together unless you like eating dinner at 10 o'clock at night. All in all, it takes about an hour and a half to put together and bake. Definitely a weekend treat. And it really is a treat. It has enough cheese and eggs in it to make you arteries sing. If I could have found a way to add some butter and cream I'd have done it. Alas, it wasn't to be.
So strap on your apron, grab a glass of wine, and let's start cooking.
5 Cheese Eggplant Lasagna
2 large eggplants, cut crosswide into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices. Just make sure they are close to the same size.
4 large eggs
½ cup breadcrumbs, seasoned or plain
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
½ cup goat cheese, softened*
½ cup brie, softened*
½ cup Monterey Jack, shredded*
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 jars or 4 cups pasta sauce, homemade or store bought.**
12 cooked lasagna noodles, or1 pound long noodles such as spaghetti or fettuccini, cooked***
- Slice eggplant. Place in a colander or on a cooling rack over the sink or a bowl. Salt slices. Place a paper towel on slices. Put a heavy pot or pan on top of the slices. Let sit at least 30 minutes. Rinse & pat dry
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees
- Whisk 2 of the eggs in a small flat container. Put the breadcrumbs in another container. Dredge 1 slice of eggplant in the egg then coat with the breadcrumbs. Place slices in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Spray the tops with the cooking spray. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes. Remove from baking sheet, cool. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
- Combine 1 cup mozzarella cheese, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup goat cheese, ½ cup brie, & ½ cup Monterey Jack, 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning, & 2 eggs.Mashing it up with a fork works really well. I would break out the big guns (potato masher) on this one. If one of the cheeses doesn't get totally incorporated it's no big deal. It'll melt into yummy goodness in the oven.
- Spread ¼ cup of the pasta sauce in the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch baking pan sprayed with cooking spray. Place a layer of the pasta, top with a layer of the cheese mixture, a layer of eggplant, repeat the layering ending with the pasta sauce.
- Top with remaining cheese.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Serves 8 to 9
* Any white cheese would do (we don't judge here) but I would stay away from white cheddar.There are probably 20 different cheeses you could use instead of cheddar so please do. Nothing says anti-Italian than cheddar cheese. Gruyere or
**I made my own sauce. I used 2 cups of my favorite tomato basil topping, 1 can (15 ounces) of diced tomatoes, 1 small can (8 ounces) tomato sauce, and a generous amount of Italian seasoning. If I had to quantify how much Italian seasonings I have to say a small palm full. I'm only 5 foot 2 inches tall so my palm fulls are pretty small compared to say JR's. He's 6 foot 2 inches tall. It's all really relative. Just toss in what you feel like. As I say when I'm painting or drawing, "I know a work is done when it feels done." I'm all about feeling it. Whatever it is. Jarred pasta sauce would be fine but I would kick it up a notch with some extra garlic and basil. Really, you can’t go wrong with more garlic and basil. Just like cow bell. You always need more cow bell. (sorry, bad Saturday Night Live reference. Of course, I said this same thing at a Tempe Symphony Orchestra rehearsal one day. Bad, Bad Michele!
***I used spaghetti because that is what I had on hand. Normally, I'd say be creative but I really think that a long substantial pasta is called for here. Angel hair just won't do. Short pasta is just out. Even my favorite bowtie pasta just won't cut it.
You know any lasagna takes like 8 hundred years to make but I've never met one that isn't worth it and this one ranks right up there. As my oldest homeboy said; it was better than he and the homegirl-in-law had at the local Italian place. Could be high praise or the Italian place is crappy. I'm going for the high praise. In Princess Michele Land it's always the high praise.
Give it a try when you have the time. You'll thank me later.
P.S. For those of you who know that I draw and paint and wonder why I haven't been boring you with my efforts. I'll tell you that I haven't been doing much (harmful to my sanity) lately. The reason is that 2 months ago I took Nessa out for a run. She got spooked by something (probably a garbage can. She is deathly afraid of garbage cans. Don't ask me why. It's not like one has ever attacked her or anything) she knocked me over. Somehow I hurt the little finger of my right hand. Sure, this doesn't sound like a big deal but I've been in a lot of pain since then. It has also changed my style which I'm not all sure I like yet. According to the hand surgeon it will be another 2 months before it heals completely. How much does that suck?