Brava, Mama! She really knows how to take care of her boys...
2 medium, firm eggplants
2 cups breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons Italian seasoning blend
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 eggs, beaten well
3-4 tablespoons sea salt
1 cup canola oil (for frying)
1 box (8 ounces) of "oven ready" (no boil) Lasagna noodles
16 ounces part skim ricotta
1 cup grated fontina
1 cup grated smoked mozzarella
2 cups marinara sauce (you can also use our Pizza Sauce recipe HERE)
- First, open your ricotta and place onto a mesh sieve placed over a bowl to drain away excess water. You can cut up the ricotta to speed the draining a bit. Let drain for 1-2 hours.
- Next, using a vegetable peeler, peel the skins off of the eggplants. (Skins can give a bitter taste, but if you prefer, leave them on).
- Cut the eggplant into 1/2 round slices.
- Using a large colander, layer the rounds of eggplant and salt them generously, repeat in layers until all the slices are salted. Then let them drain into a bowl or a sink for 30 minutes. The salt draws out the bitter juice, leaving a sweeter tasting eggplant.
- After 30 minutes have passed, rinse the eggplant slices in cold water to remove the salt. Then pat the slices dry and lay them out on a cotton kitchen towel or layers of paper towels.
- Preheat your oven to 375F.
- Mix your Italian spice blend and Parmigiano Reggiano into the breadcrumbs in a medium size bowl.
- Place the beaten egg into a shallow bowl.
- Dip the eggplant rounds first into the egg mixture and then into the breadcrumb mixture to coat all sides. Place onto a baking tray lined with paper towels. Do the same until all of the eggplant is coated. Let the coated eggplant set up for 20 minutes or so before frying.
- Place 1 cup of canola oil (or light olive oil, if preferred) into a large saute pan and turn the heat to medium-low flame (or temperature if electric).
- Just before the oil starts smoking, start frying your eggplant until golden brown on both sides. Use tongs to turn them over gently. Place on a paper lined baking tray to drain.
- Take a ladle-full of sauce and coat the bottom of a lasagna pan.
- Place one layer of oven-ready lasagna sheets along the bottom of the pan. Break sheets as needed to cover on one layer.
- Spread a thin coating of ricotta top of the first layer, then a layer of eggplant, then some tomato sauce, and finally add a bit of shredded Fontina.
- Repeat another layer--lasagna sheets, ricotta, eggplant, sauce, then Fontina. You should be able to build 3-4 layers, depending on the size of your lasagna pan.
- On the top, coat with a bit more sauce and then with the shredded smoked mozzarella.
- Cover the lasagna pan with foil, with the shiny side facing out, and place in the center of your 375F oven for 50-60 minutes. It should be bubbling around the edges when done.
- At the end of baking, remove the foil and place your oven on broil for 2 minutes.
- When finished, let stand for 5-10 minutes or so before serving.
We had our lasagna with an amazing bottle of "Joha" Primativo by Guttarolo(2010). It was fairly expensive for us ($36 for the bottle), but to our surprise, it was worth it. It had a smooth feeling passing through our lips, was mellow on the tongue with a nice balance of acidity. As most Primativo wines, this had a hearty flavor with bits of musk, hay, and a touch of spice. A great pairing with Lisa's Eggplant Lasagna...
If you make our recipe, let us know how it turned out.