I was working out and spied Giada De Laurentiis (she's gorgeous) on the TV's Food Network channel. (hey I always go there to watch when I work on the treadmill). Also was good looking was the recipe which she made - this timbale with its strips of eggplant in backing dish. It has several steps and takes 40 minutes to bake once in the oven. But it sure is worth it when it comes out and you eat the melded spices, vegetables, cheeses and more. I rated this 9.6/10 which is really great!
PS I just used regular mozzarella cheese ( the kind in the recipe is much more expensive) and only 1 eggplant. Bad mistake. You need 2 eggplants to plate this exactly as written if you will present it plated upside down per instructions (I did not). Also if you want more eggplant which is great with the rest you need 2 eggplants.Some people think it is too time intensive but it was fine.
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Show: Everyday ItalianEpisode: Neapolitan
* 2 medium eggplants, sliced 1/4-inch thick
* 1/3 cup olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1/2 pound penne pasta
* 1 medium onion, diced
* 1/2 pound ground beef
* 1/2 pound Italian pork sausage
* 1/4 cup Marsala wine
* 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
* 2 cups store-bought marinara sauce
* 1 1/2 cups diced smoked mozzarella cheese (about 6 ounces)
* 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus 1/4 cup
* 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
* Special equipment: 9-inch springform pan
Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or pre-heat a gas or charcoal grill. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the eggplant slices with 1/3 cup olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the eggplant until tender and colored with grill marks, about 4 minutes per side. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta.
Meanwhile, warm the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the beef and pork, and brown the meat, breaking it into bite-sized pieces with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Add the Marsala and cook until the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the peas and marinara sauce and stir to combine. Add the cheeses, basil, and cooked pasta. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the springform pan with the grilled eggplant. Be sure that the slices overlap and hang over the edge of the pan. Fill the pan with the pasta mixture, pressing down to make sure the pan is filling up evenly. Fold the eggplant slices up over the top of the pasta and add a few more slices on top to completely enclose the timbale. Bake the timbale until warmed through and the cheese has melted, about 30 minutes. Let rest on the counter for 10 minutes to set.
To serve, invert the timbale onto a serving plate and remove the springform pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese over the top. Slice and serve.