Eggplant with Three Cheeses and Pesto

1 large eggplant, cut into ½ inch slices

olive oil

1 egg, slightly beaten

12 oz ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons water

olive oil (for the pan)

½ pound fresh mozzarella or 4-8 slices provolone cheese

½ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided

salt and pepper

¼ – ½ cup pesto (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 450°. Lightly brush an 8” x 8” pan with olive oil and set aside. Separately, set aside a sheet pan

  1. Line the sheet pan with aluminum foil, with the foil overhanging the sides, and brush the foil with olive oil. Place the eggplant slices on the foil, and brush each slice lightly with oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper
  2. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven, and carefully fold the foil in half over the eggplant, and crimp the edges together, so that the eggplant is sealed inside the foil and will continue to steam and soften. Leave for at least 15-20 minutes
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°
  4. While the eggplant is baking, combine the egg, ricotta, oregano, water, and a sprinkle each of salt and pepper. Set aside
  5. Place half of the eggplant in the bottom of the prepared 8” x 8” pan. Cover with half of the fresh mozzarella, and half of the ricotta mixture. Cover with half of the parmesan cheese. Repeat this once more, using the remaining ingredients except the pesto
  6. Place this in the oven, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly
  7. Place servings onto plates, and drizzle with pesto

Makes 4-6 servings

Pesto

2 cloves garlic, peeled

2 cups basil leaves, washed and dried

¼ cup pine nuts (or other nuts), toasted if possible

½ cup olive oil

½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

salt and pepper

  1. In a food processor or blender, process the garlic until it’s minced 
  2. Add the basil, and process until it’s chopped into small pieces. Add the pine nuts, and pulse chop until the nuts are very small pieces
  3. Slowly add the olive oil until combined
  4. Add the parmesan, and process until it’s combined
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper

If the pesto is bitter, add (any or all):

  • sun dried tomatoes
  • parsley
  • cilantro
  • anchovies (or anchovy paste)
  • roasted peppers

Makes approximately 1 ¾ – 2 cups