3.18.2017

I Get By with a Little Help from My Friends

I have lots of foodie friends, both real and virtual.

Of course they are all real, it's just that I haven't met many of the "virtual" ones in person.

My farmers market friends are the ones I know face to face - like Eunice and Larry at Larry's Veggies, Ian at White Cane Salmon, and Alethea at Fiore di Capra.

The virtual ones I still need to meet are my blog-writing friends. While I have met five so far (in the order I met them: Ahu of Ahu Eats, Andrea of The KitchenLioness, Caroline of Pinch Me, I’m Eating, Nazneen of Coffee and Crumpets, and Carolyne from Perfectly Provence and Ginger and Nutmeg) there are so many more I want - and need - to meet. Markipedia calls them my “imaginary friends” but there is nothing imaginary about their generosity in sharing recipes, beautiful photographs, charming stories, and practical tips with the whole world.

Today's recipe for Eggplant Lasagne comes from one of them - John Amici, writer of From the Bartolini Kitchens. I met John, as so many of us do, through comments on someone else's blog. Or maybe he found me that way - I really can't remember.

I am a big fan of his stories and recipes, and have made quite a few. He has written a cookbook, as well - you can read about it on his website. I asked him if it was okay if I shared the lasagne recipe with you. He said he was honored.

John, in his post, recommends homemade fresh pasta. This was no surprise to me, as I have done this and know that it makes the most tender lasagne. So I planned to make my own.

But, the actual day I was planning to make this happened to be a Sunday, and that is our farmers market day. I got all the way to the end of the market and found a new vendor, a new foodie friend - Robert of Trigo y MaĆ­z (Spanish for Wheat and Corn). He was rolling out beautiful sheets of spinach pasta. My work for the day was done.

And so, with a little help from my friends John (the recipe) and Robert (the pasta), we had a lovely dinner.

~ David

Eggplant Lasagne
Recipe by John Amici, From the Bartolini Kitchen

1 large eggplant - a little over a pound
cooking spray
1 quart homemade tomato sauce
butter
8 ounces fresh spinach pasta sheets
3 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
3 ounces Asiago cheese, grated
3 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
5 slices fresh mozzarella, 1/4-inch thick
Pecorino Romano cheese, grated, for serving

Preheat oven to 450˚F. Liberally butter an 8-inch baking dish.

Trim off ends of eggplants, and remove alternating slices of the skin with a vegetable peeler; slice into 1/2 inch rounds. You will need enough to make two layers in your pan. Keep in mind they will shrink while baking. Place rounds in a single layer on a rack resting upon a baking sheet. Lightly spray each side and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 15 minutes; remove from oven and set aside. Reduce oven to 350˚F.

Meanwhile, cook lasagna noodles for 2 minutes; rinse in cold water and set aside to dry on paper towels. (Note: If using dried noodles, cook per the instructions on the package. If using "no boil" noodles, dunk them for a few seconds in water to begin the softening.)

Mix the mozzarella and Asiago cheeses together in a bowl; set aside.

Lightly coat the bottom of the buttered baking dish with 1/2 cup tomato sauce. Place cooked pasta sheets on the sauce to create a single layer. Add a single layer of baked eggplant rounds and cover with a layer of sauce. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella and Asiago cheese mixture, them sprinkle with a third of the grated Pecorino Romano. Add another layer of noodles, eggplant rounds, sauce, and cheeses. Add the final layer of noodles and enough tomato sauce to cover. Evenly distribute the mozzarella slices and sprinkle the rest of the Pecorino Romano cheese on top.

Cover the lasagne with buttered aluminum foil (buttering the foil keeps the cheese from sticking). Bake for 20 minutes, uncover, raise the oven temperature to 450˚F (230˚ C), and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes more.

Allow to rest at least 15 minutes before cutting; serve with grated Pecorino Romano at the table.

Serves 4-6.


20 comments:

  1. Interesting. A kind of cross between a parmigiana and a southern Italian-style lasagna. May well give this a try...

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    1. It is, Frank. It is very tasty and I like baking the eggplant - might add more next time!

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  2. This lasagna looks gorgeous David and I will make it soon. I feel the same way about all my virtual foodie friends and I love to meet you.

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  3. Sounds fabulous! I have to agree, I've met many wonderful people though my blog.

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    1. And we will meet this Friday, Lois - very exciting!

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  4. Wow! how lucky you are to have fresh pasta at your farmers market. Next time we are down in Tucson I must make a point to check it out. Lovely, delicious dish, eggplant is my favorite. Take care xo Cheri

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    1. I do love Robert's fresh pasta, Cheri - but I also love making my own! xo

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  5. David, I've been craving lasagna lately and I'm so happy to have your recipe! One day I hope to break out of the virtual friend zone and meet you in person! :).

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    1. I know we will meet sometime, Marcelle! Enjoy whatever lasagne you make - I love them all!

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  6. David, thank you for the kind mentions - we of course are thrilled to have finally put a real face to a virtual friend. Now, I am off to buy the ingredients for that gorgeous lasagna!

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    1. It was such a fun weekend, Carolyne - thank you for your warm welcome and wonderful hosting! Hope you enjoy the lasagne!

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  7. One of the great joys of blogging! xx

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    1. And one day, I will get to Australia, Liz! xx

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  8. Oh dish dish sounds so Italian! Really impressive. Ciao, Anna and Giovanna :)

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    1. Ciao, Anna e Giovanna! Glad you like the dish - it is very tasty! Abbracci, David

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  9. We will be buried in eggplant before we know it David--and eggplant is one of those veggies I always need a new recipe for! Before my daughter graduates, I will have to get back to Arizona and perhaps we can have coffee!

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    1. That would be wonderful, Inger We could always meet in the middle - in Florence, maybe? There is a nice Greek place there...

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  10. This looks AMAZING! I love aubergines, you've made me so hungry!

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    1. Us, too, Caroline - and next time, I will double the aubergines!

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