Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mediterranean Eggplant Pasta Cake

Okay, this is my first blog post in nearly a month!  I apologize for the lapse in posting.  To be honest, I was so insanely busy, I was hardly cooking either.  I think I have an excuse - getting married and going on my honeymoon sort of kept me busy :)  It was truly one of the most exciting, wonderful, and exhausting month of my life, but now the Ajemian household is calming down ( a little bit!) and I can finally get around to sharing the Mediterranean eggplant pasta cake, which by the way is one of my favorite dishes of all time.

First, you know how much I adore eggplant.  So imagine this: thinly sliced eggplant (I used my new mandoline), quickly pan-fried until it is slightly crispy and insanely delicious (I may or may not have devoured too many of them before the meal was put together).  This eggplant is laid out in a cake pan, forming a crust almost, and then on top you pour spaghetti mixed with a quick homemade sauce, cheddar and parmesan cheeses, basil and parsley, and an egg to hold it all together.  Bake it, flip it upside down, remove the pan, and voila: you have a cake, made out of eggplant and pasta.  Can you seriously imagine how amazing this was?!

It was a huge hit here, and I happily ate the leftovers all week long until every bite was gone.  It's so flavorful, and the eggplant "crust" makes for a pretty impressive-looking (not to mention ridiculously delicious) dinner.  In fact, typing this up now, I am wondering why I haven't recreated this amazing dish.  Oh yeah, I was wedding planning.  Well, the next time I go grocery shopping (does anyone else miss Market Basket?) I am picking up some eggplant and making this cake again!


Mediterranean eggplant pasta cake
from Fast Fresh Vegetarian, by Bauer Media Limited, 2013 (thanks Allie!)
serves 8
14.1 grams fat, 336 calories, 37.8 carbohydrates, 11.6 grams protein, 4.9 grams fiber

12 ounces spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
12 1/2 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
vegetable oil, for shallow-frying
2 medium eggplants, cut lengthways into 1/2 inch slices
1 egg
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
1/2 cup coarsely grated cheddar
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped coarsely
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped coarsely


1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a deep 8-inch round cake pan.

2) Cook spaghetti in large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender; drain.  Place in a large heatproof bowl.

3) Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook onion and garlic, stirring, 5 minutes or until onion is softened.  Add paste and tomatoes, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.  Season to taste.

4) Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a large deep frying pan; cook eggplant in batches until golden brown.  Drain on parchment paper.

5) Whisk egg, cheeses and herbs together with a fork in a medium bowl.  Stir warm tomato sauce, then egg mixture, through spaghetti.  Mix well.

6) Line cake pan with eggplant slices, overlapping slightly and allowing slices to hang 4 inches over edge of pan.  Pour pasta mixture into eggplant-lined pan; press mixture firmly into base and corners.  Fold overhanging eggplant over filling.  Cover top of pasta with remaining eggplant slices.  Cover pan tightly with foil.

7) Bake pasta cake 30 minutes or until heated through.  Stand 10 minutes.  Remove foil and invert pasta cake onto a serving plate.  Cut into wedges to serve.

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