Recipes for Week of July 31

Eggplant Parmigiana

Ingredients

The Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved, and cut into thin slices
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 (28-ounce) cans San Marzano whole plum tomatoes

The Eggplant:

  • 2 medium eggplants, washed and cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 4 cups Italian-style breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Vegetable oil, for frying, as needed, about 1 1/2 to 2 cups
  • 1 1/2 pounds mozzarella cheese, cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 pound provolone cheese, grated
  • 2 handfuls fresh basil, leaves only, torn

Instructions

The Eggplant:

For the tomato sauce: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and season with salt and red pepper flakes. Cook until the onions become translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the sugar and the canned tomatoes. Use a wooden spoon to break up some of the whole tomatoes and cook 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time. Taste for seasoning, the tomatoes should be fairly broken down and the flavors coming together. Cook for another few minutes if the tomatoes still taste like they need a little more time to break down. Set aside to cool.

For the eggplant (this step is optional, leave it out if you have limited time): Arrange the eggplant rounds in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Sprinkle with salt on both sides of each slice and allow it to sit for about 1 hour. Salting it draws out the liquid and bitter flavor. After an hour, rinse with cold water and dry them thoroughly with a kitchen towel.

Put the flour in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk and season with salt and pepper. In a third bowl, combine the breadcrumbs with the oregano and fresh thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper. Dip each eggplant slice in the flour and shake off any excess. Then, dip in the egg mixture, and finally in the breadcrumbs. Make sure to coat both sides of each slice of eggplant. Arrange them in single layers on the baking sheets.

In a large skillet, pour enough oil to accumulate about 1/2-inch in the bottom. Heat the oil until it begins to smoke lightly (alternatively, test with a thermometer and wait until the oil registers between 380 degrees F and 400 degrees F). Use a pair of kitchen tongs to add a single layer of the eggplant to the pan. Cook them until they are golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the oil and transfer to a baking sheet fitted with a kitchen towel so the eggplant can drain as the others cook. Season lightly with salt. Take care to reheat the oil back up to temperature before adding another batch of slices to the pan.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To assemble: In a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, spoon about 1/4 of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Top with a layer of the fried eggplant; the eggplant slices can overlap slightly. Top with about 1/3 of the mozzarella slices. Sprinkle with about 1/4 of the Parmesan and provolone cheeses. Top with a layer of torn basil leaves. Spoon sauce and repeat the layering 2 more times to make 3 layers. End with the remaining mozzarella. Carefully press the layers down firmly into the dish once assembled. Place the dish in the top part of the oven and cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly, 35 to 40 minutes. For extra browning, put the dish under the broiler for a minute or two just before serving to get an extra brown cheesy top. I always nibble on a bit of that before sharing it with my friends!

 

Moussaka

Ingredients

Lamb:

  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 1/4 cup Greek extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 serrano chile, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 (28-ounce can) plum tomatoes, pureed until smooth with their juices
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • Honey, if needed

Bechamel Sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup soft goat cheese
  • 1 cup grated Romano
  • 1 lemon, zested

Eggplant:

  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut crosswise into 14-thick slices

Instructions:

For the lamb: Soak the currants in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 6-quart saucepan over high heat. Add the lamb, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cayenne, and salt and pepper and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a large strainer set over a bowl and drain; discard any liquid left in the pan. Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the serrano and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.

Return the lamb to the pan, add the wine, and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and currants and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in the parsley and oregano and season with salt and pepper and honey, if needed. Remove from the heat.

For the eggplant: Heat the canola oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Season the eggplant slices on both sides with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add the eggplant slices and fry until tender and lightly golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer the eggplant slices to paper towels.

For the bechamel: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until pale and smooth, 2 minutes. Still whisking constantly, add the milk and bay leaf and cook until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and discard the bay leaf. Let the sauce cool for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, goat cheese, and lemon zest and whisk into the bechamel sauce until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish or casserole dish.

To assemble: Put half the eggplant slices in the dish and cover with half the meat sauce. Top the sauce with the remaining eggplant slices, and then the remaining meat sauce. Pour the bechamel over the top of the meat sauce and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle Romano evenly over the top, place the dish on a baking sheet, and bake until browned and bubbly, 45 to 50 minutes. Top with more chopped parsley, if desired. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

 

Olive Oil Roasted Eggplant with Lemon

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease.
  2. Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise, then cut each half into quarters lengthwise. Cut each of those in half to make two shorter quarters. Place the eggplant onto the baking sheet with the skin side down. Brush each piece with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast in the preheated oven until softened and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with lemon juice. Serve hot.

 

Banana Sorbet

Ingredients

  • 5 or more bananas

Instructions

  1. Line a plate or baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice bananas into 1/2 inch rounds and place them on the parchment evenly spaced. You can fit about 5 medium-sized bananas on one standard-sized baking sheet, and you will end up with about 1 pound of frozen banana. Freeze the banana pieces for a few hours up to overnight, or until firm. Don't freeze them for longer than 24 hours or they may start to brown, get freezer burn and lose their flavor.
  2. Remove the pieces from the cookie sheet and immediately place them into Ziploc bags (they thaw quickly!). Weigh each bag as you fill them to 1 pound of banana in each (about 3 1/2 cups banana slices). Remove the air from each bag before placing back in the freezer. I like preparing 1 pound batches of bananas this way so that they're easy to grab and make whenever we feel like a quick dessert. This 1 pound portion of bananas seems to be the best for blending smoothly and easily in our processor. Alternatively you can freeze the slices in bags without first putting them on the cookie sheets, but they will stick together as they freeze and it will be harder to blend them.
  3. When you're ready to prepare the sorbet, fit your food processor with the blade attachment and pour the frozen banana pieces in. You can also attempt this in the blender, but it is much more difficult to avoid clumping and to get things to mix evenly. If you have a food processor, use it!
  4. Start by pulsing the frozen banana a few times until small crumbles form. Continue processing. As you do so you'll notice the banana mixture clumping or sticking from time to time. Open the processor and use a spatula to spread the mixture out evenly throughout the processor so that it processes smoothly.
  5. Continue processing, periodically stirring with the spatula, until the mixture becomes smooth and has the consistency of soft serve ice cream.
  6. Scoop the soft serve into bowls and serve immediately.

 

Sweet Spaghetti Mix

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef 
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage (mild or hot) 
  • 1 small onion, chopped 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic 
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped 
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped 
  • 1 (3-ounce) package fresh herb mix (Italian parsley, basil, oregano, thyme; available at farmers markets), stripped from stems 
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste 
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans low-sodium tomato sauce 
  • 12 ounces water 
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar 
  • 1 (8-ounce) tray fresh white mushrooms

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, brown ground beef and sausage; drain fat. Add onions, garlic, celery, green peppers, and herbs. Cook until celery and onions are tender.
  2. Add tomato pastes, tomato sauce and water, brown sugar and mushrooms.
  3. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 6 servings.

 

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

Ingredients

  • 4 tomatoes, cut horizontally
  • 1/4 cup of grated Paramesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Place tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet. Top with Parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle with oil. Bake until the tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Cut Down on Dishes: A rimmed baking sheet is great for everything from roasting to catching accidental drips and spills. For effortless cleanup and to keep your baking sheets in tip-top shape, line them with a layer of foil before each use.