Dana Treat – Treat Yourself

You Can Make This for Dinner

Posted April 7, 2011

Eggplant and Mushroom Pasticcio
Adapted from The Greens Cookbook
Serves 6-8 generously

3 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
Olive oil
1½ pounds eggplant, cut into ½-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
2 tbsp. fresh marjoram, finely chopped
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
8 ounces penne pasta, or other tubular shape
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
¾ cup half-and-half
4 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place a large skillet over medium heat.  Add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan and add the eggplant along with a large pinch of salt.  Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the eggplant is soft and starting to brown in places.  Toss frequently so it doesn’t stick.  Remove to a bowl.

Drizzle in more olive oil and then add the onions and a large pinch of salt.  Cook over medium heat until soft, about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic and herbs, cook for 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms.  Raise the heat and cook until the mushrooms have browned and released their juices.  Add these to the eggplant and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook until just shy of al dente (it will continue to soften while in the oven).  Drain it in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.  Return to the pot and stir in ¾ of the tomato sauce.

Combine the ricotta, eggs, and half-and-half in a small bowl.  Add a quarter of the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.

Use a 3 quart casserole (a 13-by-9 inch pan works well here).  Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Spread the remaining bit of sauce on the bottom of the pan.  Layer the noodles over the sauce, cover them with the eggplant mixture, and dust with the remaining Parmesan.  Pour the ricotta custard over the top, spreading it gently over the surface so that it is covered.  (At this point the dish can be made up to 6 hours ahead.  Cover with foil and refrigerate.)

Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the custard has set and turned a golden brown around the edges.  Add another five minutes to the cooking time if it the Pasticcio has been refrigerated.  Allow the dish to settle for a few minutes before serving.

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