Nine more days to Christmas and I have decided that I AM GOING TO BAKE A DELICIOUS CHEESY EGGPLANT GRATIN FOR CHRISTMAS! Forgive me for yelling.
I was contriving to make a pasta dish for Christmas, but I am going to give that a pass. Can you imagine me giving pasta a pass? It is like Popeye refusing to eat the canned spinach or Monica not wanting to make jam (after the break up with Richard remember?) Or should I say it is like pooh not wanting to spend time with piglet. Well, I guess you got my point!
So yeah, I am going to skip the pasta and make this eggplant dish instead. Let me warn you that this is not “just an eggplant dish”. It is really cheesy rich, delicious, creamy and dreamy. Totally luxurious y’all.
This dish actually reminds me of a lasagna. You start with a layer of eggplant, tomato sauce and a layer of creamy sauce and you encore. The finish is a good handful of grated mozzarella that is broiled to a golden perfection. ♥ This is definitely lighter than a lasagna, and therefore, it is perfect for Christmas as there are so many delicacies to stuff your face with. #imsoready
Eggplants are generally one of those “meaty” vegetables, hence you do not really miss the presence of meat in this dish. Even though this is a vegetarian dish, you can easily add bacon, sausages or ground meat to this recipe. I love adaptable recipes like this one. You can also choose to bake this in a large gratin dish or individual ones. I am obviously going to bake this in the biggest baking dish that I can find in my kitchenette in the hope that I would have ample leftovers for brunch the next day. I doubt there would be leftovers but hey lets hope for the best. *inserts praying emoji*
Come to think of it, this recipe uses very basic ingredients. You can opt to make your own red pasta sauce (Read: Marinara) or purchase a bottled sauce. It is absolutely okay to use a bottled sauce, especially in this case of Christmas where you would be all over the place, trying to make sure that the mocktails/cocktails are properly made, the table is all set plus the Turkey have had adequate time to rest. Whenever I use a bottled pasta sauce, I would always add a few other ingredients to it to elevate the flavor. I am not able to think of anything that chopped garlic and fresh herbs can’t fix.
Even though I think you can use raw eggplants for this, but grilling/frying the eggplant would bring out it’s natural sweetness and makes it a more wonderfully fragrant dish. I love how simple this Cheesy Eggplant Gratin is. It is an elegant dish that is perfect whether you are hosting a dinner or bringing over for the person who would be hosting an event.
Imagine having a dish like this on Christmas. Imagine US serving this Delicious Cheesy Eggplant Gratin together on Christmas. Make it with me, Will you? ♥
- 2 large eggplant - sliced ½ inch thick
- 2 cups red pasta sauce/marinara (see notes)
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup parmesan - grated
- ⅔ cup mozzarella - grated
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to season
- A small handful of parsley and thyme - chopped
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Season eggplant slices with salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Heat a large skillet and fry eggplant slices in batches until golden on both sides. The eggplant does not have to be fully cooked at this point. Set aside.
- Place cream, parmesan and half of the herbs in a bowl. Season with salt and black pepper.
- In a 9-inch gratin dish, arrange half of the eggplant in a single layer.
- Drizzle with a thin layer of tomato sauce and top with some white cream sauce.
- Top with some mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat the same with the remaining eggplant and sauces till you get 2 layers of eggplant.
- Finally, top with the remaining mozzarella and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or till cheese is melted and golden.
- Let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Just saute 2 chopped garlic in 1 tbsp of olive oil for 30 seconds. Add bottled pasta sauce. Mix in a small handful of your favorite herbs or ¼ tsp of dried Italian herbs and season with some salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Cook this for about 5 minutes.
Btw, I still can’t make up my mind as to which of this two drinks I should make for Christmas. Decisions decisions!