You are not going to believe this but I got the idea to do this from a meal on an airplane. Airplane meals are not usually known for their culinary successes but a sort of version of this came, tasted interesting and I thought “I can make this really delicious.” And…I did! It’s really light and flavoursome and downright satisfying!
I will fess up right now and say that I used a high quality tub of tomato sauce from my supermarket. If you’re in a purist mood then please do use the homemade variety (fresh tomato sauce)as you may have some in the freezer (lucky you).
Augbergine Eggplant Bake – Serves 4 or 5
850g eggplant (3 large or 4 medium sized)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 beaten egg whites
500g ricotta (2 tubs)
350g cherry tomato and basil sauce or homemade tomato sauce
2 tbsp sundried tomato paste
50g grated parmesan
fresh basil (10 leaves)
250g mozzarella roughly grated
Begin by peeling the eggplant and slice lengthwise as in the photo above. I got 3 or 4 good slices per eggplant. You don’t want them too thick. Place in a single layer on a large baking sheet and coat the slices in the olive oil. Bake for 20 or 30 minutes until soft but not mushy.
While the eggplant is softening, whip the egg whites until firm-ish but not dry. In another bowl, mix the ricotta and parmesan and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Gently fold the egg white into the ricotta mixture, as you want to preserve as much of that air as possible.
If you cannot find sun-dried tomato paste at your shops, simply blend the “whole” variety until spreadable. If your sun dried tomatoes are hard and dry then soak them first in a small amount of olive oil. Mix the sun-dried tomato paste into the tomato sauce and spread a small amount on the bottom of the casserole dish then add a layer of aubergine. Spread half the ricotta mixture, a bit of sauce, half the mozzarella and half the basil leaves. Repeat.
Bake in a moderate oven 180ºC (350ºF) until the casserole is bubbling. This should only take about 30 minutes depending on your oven.
Serve with a crisp green salad or green vegetable such as beans or mange tout or broccoli.
Then get ready to enjoy this super delicious eggplant bake. An eggplant and ricotta dish that is a must to add to your recipe list!