Wednesday, August 15, 2012

'Zag, Pharm Girl Style

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.
I set out to make two smaller 'zags because Mike is usually somewhat culinar-ily adventurous, but I wasn't getting the whole eggplant-is-cool-let's-give-it-a-try vibe from him when I announced the dinner plans.  It was a good thing I made both, because he didn't try even one little bite.  Chicken.  Shame on him.

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!

1 comment:

Nikki said...

You can replace the noodles altogether by using eggplant instead. Use thinly sliced eggplant as you would noodles. It is so yummy!!!!