Cheesy Eggplant-Orzo Casserole
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil, chopped
Try dolloping the ricotta cheese on top of the eggplant instead of mixing it with the tomato sauce. It's like eating little pillows of cheese.
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cups diced peeled eggplant (about 1-1/4 pounds)
1-1/2 cups diced onion
1 cup diced red bell pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup diced tomato
3 cups cooked orzo (about 1-1/2 cups uncooked rice-shaped pasta)
1-1/2 cups fat-free ricotta cheese
1 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine sun-dried tomatoes and boiling water in a small bowl; cover and let stand 10 minutes or until soft. Drain, and set aside.
3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplant, onion, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add diced tomato; cook 2 minutes. Add sun-dried tomatoes, orzo, and next 4 ingredients (orzo through tomato sauce); stir well. Spoon orzo mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, and pine nuts; sprinkle crumb topping over orzo mixture. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1-1/2 cups).
This is delicious! My kids won't usually eat eggplant in anything, but they will eat this recipe. They especially like the 'puffs' of ricotta cheese (me, too)!
Jenny, Sterling, Virginia
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