Monday, July 2, 2012

Baked Eggplant with Mushroom-Tomato Sauce

This recipe is a blast from the past for us.  We made this pretty often in the first year or two of our marriage when I was beginning to expand my universe of taste.  Naturally my husband is always on board for some different veggie inspired dish.  There was so much anxiety in the kitchen because I had zero experience cooking in those days.  My Mom never really taught me anything useful in the kitchen because I "got in the way" so I never really bothered her anymore after that kind of treatment.  Between Andy and the internet, I learned my way around the kitchen.  Oh, I haven't stopped learning but there's more confidence.

A few things about this recipe though.  It has a relatively small ingredient list but this meal can be kind of lengthy to prepare because of the eggplant as you will read below.  There is some debate on the internet over the necessity to salt the slices of eggplant to leech the bitterness.  I do it anyway but, a lot of the bitterness in the eggplant is in the peel.

Baked Eggplant with Mushroom-Tomato Sauce

From: Cheap Healthy Good
Serves: 4

1 peeled eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 1 1/4 pounds)
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (8-ounce) mushrooms, sliced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce, divided
2/3 cup (about 3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

1) Salt eggplant slices and place in colander on top of a plate. After 30 minutes, rinse eggplant thoroughly and pat down with paper towels.

2) Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.

3) Lay eggplant out on the sheet. Broil 8 minutes, flipping once, until both sides are a little brown.

4) Turn oven to 375°F. Coat a 1 1/2-quart baking dish (round if possible) with cooking spray.

5) In a large nonstick pan or skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper, pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, salt, garlic, and mushrooms. Cover. Saute 7 or 8 minutes, until soft, lifting cover to stir occasionally. Jack heat up to medium-high. Take cover off. Cook a few more minutes (not more than 4 or 5) "until liquid evaporates."

6) Pour 1/2 mushroom/onion mixture into baking dish. Place 1/2 of the eggplant in a layer on top of that. "Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon pepper." Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce on top of the eggplant. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup cheese.  Repeat layers, leaving off the mozzarella at the end. Cover (with tin foil or dish lid) and bake 60 minutes. Uncover. Sprinkle with remaining 1/3 cup mozzarella and all the parmesan. Bake 5 minutes. Cheese should melt. Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes.

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