Saturday was a serious cooking day.
Every year my department puts on a pancake breakfast for incoming Master’s students (second years are invited as well). Naturally when the Biscotti Queen asked me to help, I couldn’t say no. As a result, we calculated that I made about 300 pancakes (maybe more?). Starting to think I should quit planning and work in food service. Ha!
Then later in the day there were vegetables that needed to be used. So I tried to pack as many vegetables into one dish as possible. The result:
Polenta Eggplant “Lasagna”
1 medium eggplant
1/4 cup salt
1 tbsp olive oil
3 small onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes
1/2 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1 3/4 cup corn meal (polenta)
7 cups water
1 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
10 oz ricotta cheese (I used fat free)
4 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
Cut eggplant into 1/2 inch cubes. Place in a large bowl, coat with 1/4 cup salt, let stand 15-20 minutes. Don’t worry your eggplant won’t be salty.
In the meantime, chop onions, bell peppers and one tomato. Heat oil in a large pot and add onions. While those cook for a few minutes, thoroughly rinse the eggplant and lightly pat dry. Once onions are translucent, add the eggplant, bell peppers and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add one roughly chopped tomato and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add pasta sauce and simmer on low heat for 25-30 minutes.
Once your sauce is ready, turn off the heat and start making the polenta. Combine cornmeal, water, onion powder, garlic powder and salt in a pot. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once it starts to boil keep stirring for 5-10 minutes until your polenta thickens and starts to come off the pot.
Then preheat the oven to 375F and assemble your lasagna. First spread 1/3 of the polenta into a deep baking dish (I didn’t have a really deep baking dish so I used a 9×13 baking dish and a souffle dish), next layer on half the sauce, then spread with half the ricotta cheese and repeat. Lastly, top with the last third of polenta. Top with a fresh sliced tomato and sprinkle with a few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes and place under the broiler for a few minutes to get a crispy top. Let sit for 20 minutes before serving.
new apartment mate (one of two), Anna.
And a glass of wine
Normally, I’m not a fan of white wine, but this was pretty great. Maybe not the best pairing with this dish, but fantastic on its own! Definitely recommended!
Off to catch up on Mad Men! Have a great night!