Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dinner Party #...I forget

Annabel and I decided to take on some good, comforting Italian-American cuisine last week. Eggplant Parmesan is one of my favorite Italian dishes, but it can be so heavy with all of the breading and oil that's used to fry it. I really like this eggplant dish because it doesn't have any noodles or breading at all, but it's still really delicious. I've also been wanting to try meatballs on the stove as I usually bake mine. These came out wonderfully! There's not much more to say but "yum"!

Eggplant Ricotta Bake
Recipe courtesy of John Barricelli on
Martha Stewart's Website

  • 2 large eggplants (1-1 1/4 lb each), sliced lengthwise into 3/4 inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for baking dish
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 15oz container part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried) **I also added some chopped fresh basil
  • 1 jar store bought marinara sauce (16 oz)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on two rimmed baking sheets. Brush lightly on both sides with oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until eggplant is tender and golden, turning halfway through, 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta, eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan, oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with oil.

Lay a fourth of eggplant slices in bottom of prepared dish; spread with half of marinara sauce. Top with another fourth of eggplant; spread with half of ricotta. Repeat layers, ending with ricotta; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Bake until bubbling and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Italian-American Meatballs and Marinara Sauce
Recipe courtesy of
Food Network


  • 2 slices white sandwich bread, stale
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground beef chuck **I purchased a meatloaf mix, which contains all three of these
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 medium onion, grated (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
  • Quick Marinara Sauce, recipe follows

Grate the bread or pulse into crumbs in a food processor. In a small bowl toss the bread crumbs with 1/3 cup cold milk to re-hydrate.

In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs, pork, veal, beef, Parmesan, parsley, salt, onion, garlic, and egg and mix until combined. Season the meat mixture with pepper.
Using your hands, gently form the meat mixture into 18 slightly larger than golf ball-sized balls. (Packing the meat mixture too tightly together will result in tough meatballs). Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

Heat half the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until well browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Drain the oil and wipe out the skillet, return to the heat, and repeat with the remaining oil and meatballs.

Drain and wipe out the skillet again. Return all the meatballs to the skillet and pour in the marinara sauce. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, swirling the pan occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through about 15 minutes. The cheese in the meatballs will start to melt when the meatballs are ready. Serve immediately with the Quick Marinara Sauce and spaghetti or on sandwiches. If serving with spaghetti, toss with 1/3 of the sauce.These meatballs can be stored, covered in the refrigerator for 3 days, or frozen for up to 6 weeks.

Marinara Sauce

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 medium onion, diced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 (28-ounce) cans whole, peeled, tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 small bunch fresh basil, leaves chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and garlic, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, the herb sprigs and basil and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for about 15 minutes or until thickened

Remove and discard the herb sprigs. Stir in the salt and season with pepper, to taste. Serve or store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

**We served this meal with spaghetti and roasted zucchini

1 comment:

Joelen said...

Yum! I wish my husband was a fan of eggplant. He just wont go near it like the plague. :( I'm glad that you enjoy it though so I can live vicariously through your dish :)