I made this as a last-minute addition to the menu for a dinner party. I wanted a first course that was low-maintenance but not too heavy. Of course, I can spin this as a conscious effort to create a low-carb, vegetarian dinner or healthy version of eggplant parm but anyone that knows me knows that’s complete crap.
My thought process was: eggplant, cheese, tomato sauce and basil = yum. I wanted to re-create a timballo di melanzane without having to fuss over creating individual portions. So, I slummed it and threw it all in a lasagna pan.
2 eggplants, sliced lengthwise (skinned or partially skinned or skin-on, your preference)
Marinara sauce (I make mine using chopped garlic, olive oil, whole tomatoes and lots of basil or just use store-bought)
1/2 to 3/4 ball scamorza cheese*, grated
A couple handfuls of Pecorino Romano and Parm
* Scamorza is the cheese that hangs from strings in authentic Italian food stores. It melts beautifully and has more flavor than fresh mozzarella and less water content. You can also use smoked scamorza for this recipe if you want.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with olive oil and season with just a little salt. Roast until tender and brown-ish on both sides.
Ladle some marinara into the bottom of a casserole dish, to prevent sticking. Lay down a layer of eggplant slices, as you would lasagna noodles. Top with scamorza and some Pecorino, and then with some sauce. Build another layer of eggplant and cheese, then more sauce. Top with Pecorino.
Bake in a 375°F – 400°F oven, until bubbling. Let stand a few minutes before serving.
Serve as a first course or with bread and salad as a main meal.