Thursday, September 1, 2011
Recipe: Eggplant Parmigiana
It's no secret that I love Italian food. Beyond the amazing robust flavors, I find Italian dishes particularly pleasurable to cook. When preparing an Italian meal, I always feel somewhat romantic and chef like and find it extra fun to cook with either classical or jazz music playing in the back ground. Try it! Below is my spin on Eggplant Parmigiana with Basil Fettuccine Alfredo:
1 to 2 large eggplants sliced in 1/4 inch slices
2 organic free range eggs beaten
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cups italian bread crumbs
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Parmigiana-Reggiano
1 jar high quality tomato or marinara sauce
1/2 cup of fresh basil
salt & pepper to taste
Add three turns of extra light olive oil to a large pan. Set heat to medium or medium high depending on your stove. While the pan heats, lay the sliced eggplants on a plater. Lightly salt and pepper both sides of the eggplant. Prepare your eggplant assembly line: beat the eggs in a bowl, add the flour to a plate and the bread crumbs combined with 1/4 cup Parmigiana-Reggiano to a separate plate. Lightly coat both sides of the eggplant in four, then coat with egg and then with the bread crumbs. Place the breaded eggplant to the heated pan and cook both sides until crispy and golden brown. Continue with this process until all the eggplants are breaded and browned. Then place all the eggplant on a paper towel to drain.
Preheat Oven to 400
To a glass baking dish add a thin layer of tomato sauce and then place one layer of breaded eggplant. Add another thin layer of sauce and thin layer of cheese and basil. Repeat until you reach the top of the dish. At the top add a healthy layer of sauce, 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese and a small sprinkling of the Parmigiana-Reggiano. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until sauce and cheese are bubbly. Serve on a bed of fresh spinach and top with Parmigiana-Reggiano.
Basil Fettuccine Alfredo
2 tablespoons 'Earth Balance' butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon organic all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups 2% low-fat milk
1 1/2 cups grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
8 ounce package of fresh fettuccine pasta
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons of nutmeg
Bowl the fresh pasta to just until the package instructions to ensure that it's al dente.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook for one minute, stirring frequently. Stir in flour. Gradually add in the milk, stirring with a whisk. Stir frequently and cook 5-6 minutes until mixture thickens. Add 1 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt and pepper. Stir with a whisk until cheese is melted. After the pasta is cooked and drained, return to the pan and pour the sauce mixture on top. Add in the basil and stir to combine. Serve immediately and use the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano and basil to garish.