When summertime hits, your kitchen oven usually gives way to the grill, but this time-saving, one-dish recipe makes the best of freshly-harvested eggplant and is easy to assemble in advance. Simply slice the eggplant and layer with tomatoes, pancetta, and cheese, and then pop the dish in the oven for a delicious vegetable entrée. You get to enjoy the party. Your company gets to enjoy this classic northern Italian recipe.
Time: 1 hour, including cooking time
• 2 medium organic eggplants
• sea salt
• ½ lb of chopped tomatoes
• 1 plump garlic clove
• 5 basil leaves
• 5 bay leaves
• 2 tablespoons
• a pinch of cane sugar
• salt and pepper to taste
• 4-5 slices of pancetta
• 3 oz. of goat cheese
• 9 oz. of “di bufala” mozzarella cheese
• grated Parmesan cheese
Cut the eggplants lengthwise into slices about 1/2” thick. Sprinkle with coarse salt and let drain in a strainer for at least 30 minutes.
Mince the garlic. In a nonstick frying pan, cook the chopped tomatoes, olive oil, pinch of sugar, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and basil leaves over a medium flame. Set aside. Grill the pancetta. Set aside. Remove excess fat. Brown the drained eggplant over high heat for 2 minutes on each side.
Preheat oven to 350°. Place the eggplant slices in a large baking dish. Add slices of mozzarella, then the grilled pieces of pancetta and bits of goat cheese. Top with tomato sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan on top and bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm with fresh basil.