So, you have an eggplant, half a box of spaghetti, a pound of ground beef and need to make something that will feed six hearty appetites.
This eggplant and spaghetti pie will do the trick and is just the thing to get the conversation started. Your family and dinner guests will smile at this rather unusual presentation while enjoying every bite. Toss a salad, set out some fresh fruit and a rustic loaf of bread and dinner is ready. This has pot-luck fun written all over it.
- 1 large eggplant, sliced
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes (undrained)
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- Salt and pepper
- 8 ounces spaghetti
- 8 ounces frozen peas
- 3 ounces white cheddar cheese, grated
- 3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
- 4 tablespoons dry bread crumbs, plus extra for pan
- Italian parsley, chopped (for garnish)
- Trim off (discard) ends of eggplant, cut into very thin slices (1/8-inch).
- In a large skillet, heat some of the oil, add enough eggplant slices to fit in a single layer. Cook over medium heat until golden brown on both sides. Drain on absorbent paper, season with salt and pepper.
- Repeat with remaining eggplant, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
- Saute onions until translucent, add garlic and ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until beef is done.
- Add the tomatoes (with juice) to the pan, (crushing them with a fork) stir in tomato paste and oregano. Simmer about 10 minutes.
- Taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper if necessary. Add frozen peas, cook an additional 5 minutes.
- Break the strands of spaghetti in pieces, (about 3-inches) cook in rapidly boiling water until done, drain, add to sauce.
- Sprinkle both cheeses over the pasta, mix well with two forks.
- Grease the bottom and sides of a spring-form pan with a little olive oil, sprinkle evenly with breadcrumbs (you could also use a deep round 9-inch cake pan).
- Place a large slice of eggplant in the center of the pan. Arrange additional slices of eggplant, overlapping each slice in a circle.
- When the bottom of the pan is covered, arrange overlapping slices around the sides (choose slices that fit as close as possible to cover the sides). I find it easier to use spoonful’s of the filling to support the slices, gently packing it against the eggplant, as I work around the side of the pan.
- Spoon the rest of the filling into the pan, packing it down well.
- Arrange the remaining slices of eggplant, overlapping each slice, (just like you did on the bottom) to completely cover the top.
- Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs.
- Wrap a double layer of foil around the bottom of the spring-form pan (in case it leaks). Place on a baking tray, bake in a 350* oven for 35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle top with chopped parsley, remove the sides of the pan, cut into wedges and serve.
- If you used a cake pan, invert on a plate, (the bottom is now on top) then sprinkle with parsley.
Bring to the table whole and watch the expressions …
… when your dinner guests see the unexpected spaghetti inside.