Eggplant Strata with Roasted Tomato-Garlic Sauce

(5 votes)

a little oil for the pan
1 pound ricotta cheese
1 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
a pinch of cayenne
1 1/2 cups minced scallions (about 2 bunches)
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons, crumbled dried
2 pounds eggplant, 1/2 inch slices round or, lengthwise
4 small zucchini (about 1 pound), cut into thin circle
3 medium red bell peppers*, roasted, peeled, cut into wide strips
1 pound smoked mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
roasted tomato-garlic sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (not too ripe)
2 bulbs garlic
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar (or to taste)
black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Lightly oil a 9 X 13-inch pan.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan or pecorino, salt, pepper, cayenne, scallions, and rosemary, and mix well.

Spread a double layer of eggplant slices in the bottom of the prepared pan, followed by a single layer of zucchini. Spoon on half the ricotta mixture in small mounds, then lay half the roasted pepper strips on top. Cover the peppers with half of the smoked mozzarella slices, and ladle on half the Roasted Tomato-Garlic Sauce.

Spread a single layer of eggplant on top of the sauce, then repeat all the other layers, ending with the remaining sauce on top of the mozzarella. Bake uncovered for 1 ½ hours. (Cover lightly with foil if the top becomes too brown.)

Remove the pan from the oven, and let it sit for at least 15 minutes before serving. Cut into squares and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Tomato-Garlic Sauce:
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking tray with foil, and brush it with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Cut the tomatoes in half; squeeze out and discard the seeds. Place the tomatoes cut side up on the baking sheet. Slice and discard the tips from the garlic bulbs, and stand the bulbs on their bases on the tray. Drizzle the open tomatoes with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and place the tray in the oven.

After 30 minutes, remove the tray from the oven. Turn the tomatoes over, and carefully pour off and save their juices. This will prevent them from stewing in their own liquid, and enables them to acquire a deeper roasted flavor. Return the tray to the oven, and bake for 30 minutes longer.

Cool to room temperature, pull off and discard the tomato skins, and place the tomatoes in a food processor. Break the garlic bulb up into cloves, and squeeze the pulp from each clove directly into the food processor as well. Add the reserved tomato juices, and purée everything together until smooth. You can also leave the sauce a little textured if you prefer.

Transfer to a bowl, and season to taste with salt, vinegar, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until use.

*Roasted Bell Peppers
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place as many bell peppers as will fit on an ungreased tray and roast near the top of the oven. Using tongs, turn the peppers every 5 to 10 minutes, or until the skins blacken and separate from the flesh. Transfer the peppers to a glass or ceramic bowl and cover with a plate. Let sit for 30 minutes before peeling, seeding, and slicing. Save the delicious juices that accumulate in the bottom of the bowl for soups or sauces-or to just drink.

If you prefer to char the peppers, you can broil them directly under the heat at 500° F instead. Turn them frequently and watch them carefully, as this process will go a lot more quickly than roasting at a lower temperature.


Comments:

This is, without question, the best eggplant strata in the universe!
Jean, Location not stated.

This is a great recipe, but you should at least mention that you got it straight from Mollie Katzen's
Anonymous, Location not stated.

Agreed. This is from Mollie Katzen's book 'Vegetable Heaven'. Please add in attribution!
Kaji, Location not stated.

Also noticed that this is straight from Mollie Katzen! If its word for word, you need to give her credit!
Anonymous, Location not stated.

I also noticed that it is Mollie Katzen's recipe! I guess everyone knows it now!
Anonymous, Location not stated.


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