Stuffed Eggplant Casserole
with Italian sausage and mozarella
When I saw this recipe come in from Romana in Czeck Republic https://craftlog.com/cz/vareni/zapeceny-lilek-s-rajcaty-a-mozzarellou-3pWKb I was really excited to see the unique way that she sliced her eggplant. I had to give it a shot.
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What you will need
1 bunch of spinach
2 large eggplant
8 oz. mozarella
1 yellow onion
2 large italian sausages
olive oil as needed
2 cloves garlic, crushed
14.5 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
salt as needed
a chunk of parmesan cheese (maybe 3 oz. or so)
How to cook
Slice off the spinach stems and discard. The spinach isn't totally necessary for this dish, but I think it's a nice touch. We use it to line the baking dish to make a nice braised spinach to go with your eggplant.
Wash well. Spinach can be very dirty. I like to wash it in several changes of water.
If you don't own a salad spinner, I highly recommend picking one up. It's not crucial for a dish like this, but for a salad, it's the best way to dry your greens.
Slice the eggplant without slicing through the stem end. This takes a little practice. Keep in mind that the slices will be wider at the base than at the stem, because you have more space to work with. Watch those fingers.
Salt each layer
Season each layer with salt. This is mostly to help draw out some of the moisture from the eggplant.
Slice the mozarella. You want it fairly thin. We're going to slide these slices into the layers of eggplant, and you want to have enough to go around.
Remove the tip of the onion and cut it in half through the axis. Remove the skin, then Slice from tip to root. This yields rainbow shaped arches of onion.
Remove sausage casing
Cut the sausage opened and remove the casing. Break the sausage up into chunks.
Cook the onion over medium or medium-low until tender. You don't really want a lot of color on the onion here, so gentle cooking is what you're after.
When the onion is looking a little caramelized, toss in the sausage and let it brown.
Add crushed garlic
A little crushed garlic here. Try to stir it into the fat that's been rendered from your sausage.
Add canned tomatoes
Dump in your can of tomatoes. Let it simmer for a few minutes, until slightly reduced.
Arrange spinach in casserole dish
Lay out the spinach as a base for your stuffed eggplant. As I mentioned in the first step, feel free to simply skip this part with no other changes.
Arrange eggplant on top
Spread both eggplants out in your casserole dish. You should be able to see a little of the white from each slice.
Stuff eggplant with sauce
Spoon sauce between each layer of eggplant.
Stuff with mozarella
Slide a piece of cheese into each layer on top of the sauce.
When cheese is stored, the outer layers often become acrid. By scraping the edges with a sharp knife, you can remove this outer layer. It really does get pretty gross sometimes, so this simple trick can really improve the flavor of a cheese.
Add grated cheese
Grate the parmesan on top of the stuffed eggplant.
350F for 90 minutes
Bake at 350f for 90-120 minutes. It does take awhile. Check in occasionally. You want the eggplant to be soft.