The Blatnoi (ubernacht) wrote in cucina_italiana,
The Blatnoi
ubernacht
cucina_italiana

Lasagna with Fried Eggplant and Zucchini

Lasagna con Melanzana Fritta e Zucchini

This recipe was inspired by a Fried Eggplant in Smothered Onion and Tomato sauce I made a few weeks ago. The Eggplant had
such a 'meaty' quality that I thought it would be a excellent as the primary ingredient in a Lasagna for my Veggie
friends....

Ingredients:
For the Eggplant -
- 2 large eggplants, untrimmed with skin
- flour on a plate
- breadcrumbs
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup Parmigiano, finely grated
- 4 lg basil leaves finely chopped
- 1 egg
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Vegetable oil for frying.

For the Sauce -
- 1 can imported Italian Roma tomatoes, chopped with their juices
- 1 med. yellow onion, thinly sliced (to make rings, not chopped) - use a mandolin if available
- Juice from cooked Eggplant (below)
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 med carrot
- 2 celery stalks
- 3 tblsp EVO
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

For the Lasagna-
- Eggplant Patties (as prepared below)
- Marinara Sauce (as prepared below)
- 3 balls fresh Mozzarella coarsely chopped
- Fresh Ricotta
- 1 cup Parmigiano, finely grated
- Fresh Lasagna sheets
- 2 zucchinis, thinly sliced
- 8-10 Basil leaves, coarsely torn
- Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- butter to grease the pan

For the Béchamel-
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 3 tblsp unbleached flour
- 2 cups milk


Preparation:

For the Eggplant-
- Heat the oven to 400 and place both eggplants, untrimmed and with their skins in the top rack. Put a baking sheet in the lower rack to catch their juices.
- Bake for about 40 min. or until the skin separates and you can slide a toothpick easily into the meat.
- Remove from oven. When cool enough, trim and remove skin and slice lengthwise into large pieces.
- Put meat into a colander sitting on top of a bowl to catch the moisture. Put a bowl on top of the meat with a can or two to add weight and help squeeze the moisture from the meat. After about 15 min., remove the bowl and cans and gently squeeze remaining moisture. Save the Eggplant juice for the sauce.
- Chop eggplant meat very fine and put in a bowl.
- Add Garlic, basil, egg, Parmigiano and 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs. Mix well by hand until a consistent mass forms. Add breadcrumbs to soak moisture as needed.
- When firm enough to hold a patty shape, add salt and pepper to taste.
- Tear off pieces of eggplant mixture to form patties about 1 1/2 - 2 in in diameter.
- Add enough oil to a frying pan to cover 1/2 the patty and turn on High.
- When oil is hot, dredge the patties in flour on both sides and add to frying pan without overlapping.
- Fry on each side until golden brown. Remove from oil and set on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.

For the Sauce-
- Heat EVO in frying pan on Med High and add onions, celery and carrots. Cook until Onions are pale gold.
- Add garlic slices and cook for about 1 minute, or until the garlic fragrance is peaked.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and their juices and stir well. Lower heat to Med and let simmer, stirring occasionally for about 30 min, or until the oil separates from the tomatoes. When this happens, lower the heat to Med Low and add the Eggplant juices. Let simmer until the liquid evaporates. Salt and Pepper to taste.
- Boil Lasagna noodles and set on cloth towel. Make sure they do not overlap or they will stick together (don't add oil to the water - just salt)
- Remove from heat and set aside.

Lasagna Preparation-
- Heat oven to 375.
- lightly grease a baking dish for the lasagna.
- Add a light coating of the sauce.
- Add a layer of the Eggplant Patties, intact so they are about 3/4 - 1 inch apart.
- Crumble generous layer of Ricotta across the entire Lasagna
- Add layer of coarsely chopped Mozzarella across entire Lasagna
- Spoon a layer of Béchamel across entire Lasagna
- Add a single layer of sliced Zucchini so they are about 1/4 - 1/2 in apart.
- Sprinkle coarsely chopped Basil evenly across entire Lasagna.
- Sprinkle liberal layer of Parmigiano across entire lasagna.
- Add a layer of lasagna sheets so that they overlap about 1/2 in.
- Repeat this process until you run out of the Eggplant patties. *If you find yourself short on patties for an entire layer, chop the patties coarsely and spread around evenly for your second to last layer.
- FINAL LAYER - This is the Presentation layer and does not contain the Tomato or the Eggplant. On top of the final layer of Lasagna strips, add the remaining Béchamel. Add the final layer of Zucchini, then the ricotta, the mozzarella the basil and finally the Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Cover Lasagna with tinfoil and bake for 15 - 20 min., or until cooked through. *Note - if you use those stupid 'baking only' noodles, you will have to cook it for at least 50-60 min. Avoid this if possible.
- Let cool for about 10 min. and serve.
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