So, we decided to experiment a little with dinner tonight. We had some lasagna noodles that we wanted to use, and were thinking we could figure out some sort of undiscovered lasagna dish that would revolutionize tiered pasta. This did not happen.
We decided to go for a baigan bharta lasagna, cooking the eggplant first in veggie broth, some tomato paste, garlic, ginger, coriander, and cumin. Once it was soft, we layered it with the pasta and shredded cheese we got at the produce market (labeled simply “Trinidad Cheese”) and baked it covered for 20 minutes and then uncovered for about 40. It came out looking pretty good.
Unfortunately, the eggplant released a lot of water, so beneath the crusty top it lacked the structural integrity you want in a lasagna. Also, the Indian spices weren’t really bold enough to overcome the pasta, tomato, and cheese combination. In the end it was tasty, but if you didn’t know what was in it, you would have just thought it was slightly-different, slightly-wet lasagna.
I still think the Indian lasagna idea has legs though – maybe with aloo matar gobi instead.
It’s finally cooled off around here, so I had no problem using the oven for this impromptu dinner. The provolone was leftover from a weekend BBQ that included some veggie burgers and the basil and hot pepper are from the garden.
Layered Eggplant Bake
1 large eggplant, sliced very thin
provolone cheese, sliced thin
fresh basil leaves
1 Italian hot pepper, sliced into thin rounds
salt and pepper
Basically, all you have to do here is layer the ingredients into a lightly oiled casserole dish in whichever order strikes your fancy. I added a little salt and pepper, plus a slight drizzle of oil in between each of the eggplant layers to make sure everything was evenly seasoned. Save a little cheese before you put it in the oven.
Bake covered on 425 for 15 to 20 minutes, then uncover, top with the leftover cheese, and bake for another 10 minutes or so.
We served this with some toasted bread and a nice green salad. Simple. The picture above doesn’t demonstrate the depth of the dish very well, but there were five or six layers of eggplant in there – the whole casserole gave us four servings.