Lasagna con Melanzane e Mozzarella Affumicato
 
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A simple and delicious make ahead lasagna, wonderful for entertaining. The process of degorging eggplant is an important step, ridding the vegetable of any unwanted bitterness. Degorging also removes excess water from the slices thereby requiring less oil in the cooking process. I find that dipping the no-boil sheets into the warm water, using an entire recipe of marinara sauce, and refrigerating the assembled lasagna overnight are key when using a no-boil lasagna.
Author:
Recipe type: Primi or Secondi
Serves: 9 primi, 6 secondi
Ingredients
  • 3 to 4 eggplant, small to medium in size, about 31/2 pounds
  • ½ to 1 cup of kosher salt, you may not need the entire amount, to degorge the eggplant
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 recipes of Marinara Sauce, the first recipe will be used in preparing the lasagna, the second for serving the lasagna
  • 1 lb. of smoked mozzarella, sliced and the slices cut into halves or thirds
  • 2½ cups freshly grated Parmigiano
  • 5 to 6 sheets of no boil lasagna, preferably imported Italian
  • Fresh basil for garnish
Instructions
  1. Have a strainer large enough to accommodate the sliced eggplant sitting over a large work bowl or in the kitchen sink. Peel the eggplant and slice into ¼" rounds. Place one layer of the peeled eggplant slices in the bottom of the strainer and sprinkle with some of the kosher salt, continue to layer the eggplant and salt until you have used all of the eggplant. Place a clean cotton kitchen towel on top of the salted eggplant, then place a heavy weight on the kitchen towel. Allow the eggplant to rest for one hour.
  2. Remove the weight and towel from the strainer. Lay the towel on the counter near the sink and begin to rinse the eggplant slices of any residual salt. Place the slices on the kitchen towel. Once you are finished, place a second clean kitchen towel on top of the slices to absorb any water.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450º and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Oil the parchment paper with as much of the ⅓ cup of olive oil as you deem necessary using a paper towel. Lay the dry eggplant slices over the oiled parchment. Once you have finished, turn the slices over to be certain that both sides have been lightly oiled.
  4. Place the trays into the preheated oven and after 10 minutes quickly turn over the slices using kitchen tongs. Roast the eggplant for another 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and cover the trays with foil; this will allow the eggplant to steam and insure that the slices are fully cooked. After 10 minutes remove the foil.
  5. Prepare an assembly station to put the lasagna together. Have the lasagna sheets, a pyrex baking pan half filled with warm water, a clean cotton towel, an oiled pyrex for the lasagna, the Parmigiano, the smoked mozzarella, the eggplant slices, and 1 recipe of the marinara set out.
  6. Take two sheets of the no-boil noodles and place them into the warm water for 2 minutes. In the meantime spoon and spread ¼ of a cup of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the oiled pyrex. Remove one of the lasagna sheets from the warm water, add another sheet as you remove the first one. Dab the sheet on the kitchen towel so that it is not dripping and place in the oiled baking dish over the marinara sauce. Layer the pasta sheet with slices of the eggplant, being sure that you slightly overlap the eggplant so that the pasta sheet is fully covered by the eggplant. Top the eggplant with some of the smoked mozzerella followed by some grated parmigiano and another ¼ cup of the marinara sauce. Top the layering with the second sheet of pasta in the same manner. Repeat until you have used all of the ingredients.
  7. The top layer of the lasagna should have both cheeses and marinara sauce only. Cover with a piece of parchment the same size as the baking dish and tightly wrap with foil, refrigerate overnight.
  8. The next day, remove the lasagna from the refrigerator 2 to 3 hours before baking. Preheat the oven to 350º, place the foil and parchment wrapped lasagna into the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and parchment and continue to bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the lasagna is bubbling and the cheese on the top has melted.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 to 30 minutes or until set. In the meantime, gently heat the remaining marinara sauce.
  10. Use a sharp knife to cut the rested lasagna into 6 to 9 pieces, depending upon whether you are using this as a primi or secondi. Have individual serving plates, the marinara sauce and basil garnish ready. Place a piece of lasagna in the center of the serving plate and spoon a few tablespoons of the marinara sauce around the lasagna. Garnish with a basil leaf and serve imediately.
Recipe by La Bella Sorella at http://labellasorella.com/2015/03/lasagna-eggplant-smoked-mozzarella/