John Barricelli and the rest of the crew at Everyday Food would be disappointed in me. Though they strive to create simple yet tasty recipes, I somehow managed to muck things up. I have long wanted to try the Eggplant-Ricotta Bake recipe since I saw John Barricelli whip it up on PBS's Everyday Food. After it being in my "Things to Try" queue for over a year, I finally attempted this dish the other evening when I found an eggplant wasting away in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator.

As the picture above shows, I ran into some problems and all because I didn't read through the instructions. I had only one eggplant instead of two. I used 26 ounces of marinara sauce instead of 16 ounces. The eggplant was sliced too thinly and I failed to brush the slices with olive oil, so parts of the vegetable were charred and dumped in the trash. I layered the cheese mixture right on top of the tomato sauce. The baking dish was too small. It was inevitable that I would end up with something more akin to soup. Luckily, this Eggplant-Ricotta Bake soup had a pretty decent taste.

I haven't touched the dish since Wednesday night, but I will try to salvage its remains this weekend by drying it out in the oven. Considering that the taste was good and the soup provided for a solid meal, I wouldn't mind too terribly if I made this dish again. It came together very easily and quickly, which is nice when you want to have dinner all set before the start of So You Think You Can Dance.

Eggplant Ricotta Bake (from Everyday Food)
  • 2 large eggplants, cut lengthwise 3/4-inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 16 ounces store-bought marinara sauce
Line two rimmed baking sheets with the eggplant slices and brush both sides of the cuts with olive oil. Salt and pepper the eggplant. Bake in an oven preheated to 450 degrees F for 20-25 minutes until the eggplant is tender and golden. Don't forget to turn them halfway through!

In a large bowl, stir together the cheeses, eggs, oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Brush an 8-inch square baking pan with olive oil.

Line the bottom of the baking pan with eggplant and spread marinara sauce on top. Layer on more eggplant slices and top with the cheese mixture. Repeat the layers, ending with the cheese mixture. Slide into the 450 degree F oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the sauce begins to bubble. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Happy Weekend!