Monday, May 14, 2012

Dinner #4: Eggplant Tortino with Kalamata Marinara

Only two weeks in and I'm already falling behind in blogging my recipes! I made this delicious stack of tender eggplant, fresh mozzarella, and creamy greens last week. The marinara sauce topping it all off is blended with kalamata olives which gives it a greater depth flavor. I wish there were enough leftovers that I could still be eating it this week.

I prepared this dish over two nights. I prepped the eggplant and the creamy swiss chard sauce one night and assembled and baked it the following evening. Serve with Trader Joe's garlic bread sticks, a big bowl of salad, or both.

I would take this over traditional layered lasagna any day!

Eggplant Tortino in a Kalamata Olive Marinara Sauce

Adapted from Closet Cooking
Yields: 6 servings
Difficulty: Medium

1 Tbsp olive oil + more for brushing
2 lbs eggplant (about 2 1/2 small), cut to 1/4 in slices
S&P to taste
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 bunches swiss chard, stems removed and discarded, greens chopped coarsely
1/4 c organic half and half
1/2 c freshly grated provolone
3 organic eggs, beaten lightly
1 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly
1/2 c grated parmesan
3 c kalamata marinara (see recipe below)

Place a layer of eggplant slices in a large colander. Sprinkle generously with salt. Add another layer of eggplant slides, sprinkle with salt, and repeat until all eggplant is in colander. Let sit for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, rinse eggplant slices and pat dry. This will help to draw out some of the bitterness in the eggplant.

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Brush parchment paper with a small amount of oil. Arrange eggplant slices on baking sheet, overlapping slightly. Brush tops of eggplant slices with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until eggplant is browning and beginning to soften.

Add 1 Tbsp oil to a pan over medium high heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Stir continuously for 1 minute. Then add swiss chard. Cook a few minutes until the greens are wilted. Add half and half. Stir until heated through. Then remove pan from heat and add the provolone. Wait until the mixture has cooled, then add the 3 eggs and mix to combine.

Spray an 8x11 glass baking dish with olive oil. Cover the bottom of the dish with a 1/3 of the eggplant, followed by 1/2 of the swiss chard sauce, followed by 1/2 the mozzarella slices. Build another lay of 1/3 of the eggplant, rest of the swiss chard sauce, and rest of the mozzarella. Top with remaining eggplant and sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake for 30 minutes until the sides are bubbling and the top is nicely browned. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Top each serving with 1/2 c kalamata marinara.

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Kalamata Marinara:
1 jar organic tomato and basil marinara
handful of kalamata olives
red pepper flakes, to taste

Add marinara sauce and olives to blender and blend to your desired consistency. Heat over medium heat until bubbling. For a slightly spicier sauce, add 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes while cooking. 

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