All of my life I've been a fan of food. There's no surprise in that statement, is there?!
Anyway, I like food. And pasta is food & lasagna is pasta & so that means I'm a fan of lasagna (affectionately referred to as 'zag).
Still with me?
As I've gotten older & become much less grossed out by things like vegetables, I've taken the meat out of my 'zag & replaced it with veggies. Our go to recipe for 'zag includes ricotta, mozzarella, mushrooms, & spinach. Usually I have frozen spinach but I've discovered that if you get fresh mushrooms & fresh spinach, saute them up with a little olive oil & butter - oh my! You'll never get a bag of frozen spinach ever again!
This past Saturday at the farmer's market I saw several stands with some lovely little eggplant (eggplants?). The only time I have successfully cooked with eggplant I made a huge dish of vegetable moussaka. It was fabulous but took approximately 23 1/2 hours to make. Slight exaggeration, but you get the idea. It was scrumptious but very involved & definitely not weeknight cooking. But that eggplant just looked so pretty there at the market & I was itching to buy one but just not sure what to do with it other than admire it for being so purple & pretty. So I asked one of the vendors & she told me that she likes to use eggplant for lasagna rolls. Hmmm...sounds good to me! She explained that if you buy a small eggplant, slice it quite thinly, & roast it with a little bit of olive oil before 'zagging it up, that it isn't necessary to salt it & do that whole mess when you have to draw out the bitter stuff. I was convinced that I could do it so I grabbed a pretty little purple guy & last night I got to 'zag making.
|The 'zag on the left is the roasted eggplant 'zag;|
the 'zag on the right is our usual standby.
Anyway, I'm not going to give you a real recipe-recipe. I'll just give you a synopsis, in case you want to give the eggplant in your farmer's market a little try!
Slice the eggplant thinly & arrange on a baking sheet. Coat lightly with olive oil. Put it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes a side. Make sure it's getting quite tender. In the meantime, cook enough 'zag noodles to make a bottom layer & a top layer in your baking dish. Also, gather your ricotta, mozzarella, mushrooms, sauce (we use Ragu Super Chunky Mushroom) & some Italian seasoning is a good idea, too. When your eggplant is ready, just layer your 'zag in the pan. I put some sauce on the bottom, the noodles, then a mishmash of eggplant, the cheese, the 'shrooms, the seasoning, & the sauce. Then put on your top layer of noodles & this is when I pour on a ton of sauce. I don't know why; I just do it that way. And then I top it with a lot of mozzarella. You can never go wrong with lots of mozzarella. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes (depending on how toasty you like your top cheese to get).
Ta Da! Roasted Eggplant 'Zag, Pharm Girl Style!
If you try it & like it, let me know! If you try it & hate it, you don't have to tell me *grin* And if you have any suggestions for how to use eggplant, definitely let me know!