Lasagna with Roasted Eggplant-Ricotta Filling
Three cheeses combined with roasted tomatoes and eggplant guarantee a delicious lasagna.
- 4 pints cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano or marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried
- 6 cloves garlic in jackets (skins)
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 large firm eggplant, halved lengthwise
- 2 pints fresh ricotta cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 box no-boil lasagna noodles, soaked in lukewarm water for 5 minutes
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
Place the cherry tomatoes on a large baking sheet along with the thyme, oregano and garlic. Dress with 2 tablespoons of the EVOO; season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Roast until the tomatoes burst, 35-45 minutes.
Brush the eggplant with the remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut-side down on the baking sheet and roast alongside the tomatoes until soft, 30-40 minutes.
Let the tomatoes cool slightly, then puree them with the basil in a food processor until smooth. Remove the skins from the garlic and puree the sauce with the roasted cloves before transferring the sauce to a bowl.
When the eggplant has cooled, spoon out the flesh and add it into the cleaned bowl of the food processor along with the ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano, egg yolks and some salt and pepper. Puree the mixture until smooth and season with more salt and pepper.
Ladle one-third of the tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9-inch x 13-inch casserole dish. Layer the pasta sheets on top, followed by one-half of the eggplant, more pasta sheets, tomato sauce and half of the mozzarella. Repeat with another layer of pasta sheets, followed by the remaining eggplant, more pasta sheets and the remaining tomato sauce. Top the lasagna with the remaining mozzarella. Bake for 1 hour. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.
Cook’s Note: Cool completely before storing in the refrigerator or freezer for a make-ahead meal. Bring to room temperature before reheating, covered, at 325°F, 20-30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.