- Grilled eggplant - a classic in antipasti and a lighter substitute for that other favorite: eggplant parmigiana.
- Sausage and peppers - an Italian-American favorite of street vendors, backyard barbecues, and ball games.
- Bolognese sauce - an homage to my second home of Bologna, Italy and one of the most beloved exports to Italian-American cuisine.
Hat-Trick Lasagna ~ serves 6-8
1 medium Italian eggplant
3 large red peppers
3 cups sliced fresh mozzarella
4 links Italian sausage
2 cups tomato (marinara) sauce
1 cups Bolognese sauce
1/2 box Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles
Equipment: you will need a grill pan or outdoor grill in addition to a lasagna (casserole) pan, cookie sheet and a colander.
Wash eggplant and slice lengthwise into 1/4" slices. Layer in colander with kosher salt or sea salt sprinkled liberally between slices. This will draw out the bitter moisture from the eggplant. Let stand about an hour and then thoroughly wash off all salt. Set aside.
Set oven to broil. Wash peppers and lay on a cookie sheet. Broil several minutes each side until blackened. Turn off oven and set peppers aside until cool enough to handle. When cool peel off skin, remove stem and seeds. Cut into inch wide strips and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375º F.
Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Lightly spray with olive oil or cooking spray. Grill eggplant 3-4 minutes per side, rotating 90º once per side to achieve cross-marks (if desired). Grill Italian sausage and slice into thin rounds.
Begin to layer lasagna in the pan in the following order: tomato sauce, no-boil noodles, eggplant, cheese, Bolognese, noodles, tomato sauce, peppers, sausage, noodles, tomato sauce, any remaining eggplant, Bolognese and cheese. Cover with foil and bake 35-40 minutes or until bubbling. Remove foil and cook 10-15 minutes or until top layer of cheese is browned. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving. Serve with a simple salad with olives, a few curls of parmigiana, and a light lemon vinaigrette.
It's so good your husband, you know - the guy who barely eats ever - might even call from work to say his lunch is delicious. Yay!