Mary Ann’s Eggplant Lasagne
Mary Ann Esposito
Published by Hearst
Lasagne is an ancient food. The Romans were dishing it out during the heyday of the Roman Empire. A fourteenth-century cooking manuscript directs the cook to boil the lasagne noodles (made without eggs) in capon broth and then layer the noodles with grated cheese. In my version, freshly made noodles are layered with thin, lengthwise slices of eggplant and topped with tomato sauce.
NotesMake a day ahead of serving. After baking, remove the foil and cover the pan with a sheet of waxed paper, then replace the foil. This prevents the acid in the tomato sauce from eating through the foil and leaving little bits of foil on the top of the sauce.
Serves8 to 10
Cooking Methodbaking, frying
Total Timeunder 2 hours
Make Ahead RecipeYes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationkosher, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian
Type of Dishbaked pasta, pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 large white onion, peeled and minced
- 2 28-ounce cans plum tomatoes, crushed
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 3 or 4 fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 firm medium eggplant, about 8 to 9 inches long
- Peanut oil, for frying
- ½ recipe Basic Egg Pasta, or ½ pound store-bought lasagne noodles
- 1 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil, add the garlic and onion, and saute until soft. Lower the heat; add the tomatoes, water, wine, basil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Simmer the mixture for 20 minutes. Set aside.
Wash and dry the eggplant. Cut into 15-inch lengthwise slices and place in layers in a colander. Sprinkle salt between the layers and let sit for 1 hour. Rinse and dry the eggplant slices with a towel.
In a skillet, heat enough peanut oil to coat the bottom. Add a few eggplant slices at a time and saute quickly, about 2 minutes on each side, or until soft. Drain the pieces on brown paper. Set aside.
If using homemade pasta, cut the dough into 3 pieces. Work with 1 piece at a time and roll the dough 1/8 inch thick. Cut 2 sheets from each piece to fit a 9- x 13-inch lasagne pan. Set aside on a floured towel in a single layer.
In a large pot, bring about 8 quarts of water to the boil. Add a few homemade lasagne strips at a time and parboil for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the noodles to a waiting pan of ice water. This will cool the noodles and allow you to handle them. Continue cooking the remaining noodles in small batches. Drain the noodles on dry towels. (If using store-bought noodles, skip the parboiling step and layer the noodles uncooked.)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Spread 1 cup of the sauce in the bottom of the lasagne pan. Add a layer of lasagne strips. Cover the strips with ½ cup sauce. Add a layer of eggplant. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add a layer of cheese. Spread ½ cup of sauce over the cheese. Make 2 more layers of lasagne strips, sauce, eggplant, salt and pepper, and cheese. Spread the top layer with 1 cup sauce. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.
1993 Mary Ann Esposito