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SICILICAN EGGPLANT LASAGNA

EGGPLANT LASAGNA

Eggplant is the classic ingredient from Sicily. And taking it into beloved lasagna is a glorious marriage. The secret is to roast your eggplant first. Then layer slices into your lasagna recipe. And for all that lasagna involves a meat sauce, Sicilians discover that meatless is glorious!

INGREDIENTS:

2 to 3 medium eggplants, sliced vertically in 1/3 inch pieces (do not peel)
2 tablespoons fresh extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 to 1-1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg
2 tbsp water
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
2 cups BEST store bought pasta sauce
1 tbsp Basil olive oil for drizzle
1 package lasagna noodles (no-boil noodles are optional)
1 to 1-12 cup fresh mozzarella, shredded 
1 to 1-1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush the foil lightly with olive oil. Place eggplant in large bowl, sprinkle with salt and toss with olive oil. Place on the baking sheet and roast 15 to 20 minutes, until the slices are golden and soft. Remove from oven and cool. Cover with another sheet of foil and fold over edges to create an envelope for additional steaming. Reduce oven to 350 degrees. Brush oil on 9 x 12 baking dish. Prepare lasagna noodles according to package directions. Rinse in cold water to prevent sticking. Place each noodle on paper towel until ready to use. In a small bowl combine ricotta, egg and water. 

Spread a thin layer of pasta sauce sauce on bottom baking dish. Add an even layer of noodles. Gently and evenly spread ricotta mixture with rubber spatula. Add one third of eggplant slices. Top with a small amount of ricotta mixture and 1/3 mozzarella. Add additional sauce and repeat two more times. For the top layer spread remaining sauce, ricotta and a layer of Parmesan. Drizzle generously with Basil olive oil. Cover tightly with foil and place in oven. Bake 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling. Remove and rest for 15 minutes before cutting into pieces. Drizzle with fresh olive oil.