Eggplant Stacks with Three Cheeses
1 pound eggplant
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
small bunch of basil
small bunch of parsley
1/2 pound ricotta cheese
6 ounces goat cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
For the fresh tomato, garlic, and oregano sauce:
1/3 cup olive oil
3 onions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
6 tablespoons tomato puree
3-4 tablespoons chopped oregano
pinch of sugar
4 individual gratin dishes
Trim the eggplant and cut them across in sixteen 1 inch rounds. If they are small, cut them diagonally. Lay the slices in a single layer on a tray. Sprinkle them generously with salt on both sides and leave 20-30 minutes to draw out excess juices.
Rinse the eggplant slices, drain in a colander, and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange on oiled baking sheets and brush the tops with olive oil. Bake the slices until perfect crisp, turning once, 25-30 minutes. Let cool.
Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce; heat the oil in a large deep saucepan. Add the onions and fry over medium heat until soft and lightly browned. 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano, sugar, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat until the tomatoes are very soft, 10-15 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue cooking the tomato sauce, stirring occasionally, until lightly thickened but still falling easily from the spoon, 5-10 minutes. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning.
Strip the leaves from the basil and parsley stems and chop the leaves, reserving 4 basil sprigs for decoration. Beat the ricotta and goat cheeses in a bowl until smooth. Stir in the chopped herbs, salt, and pepper and taste for seasoning. Brush the gratin dishes with olive oil and place an eggplant slice in each one. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture on the eggplant. Top each with a second slice. Repeat with remaining eggplant rounds and filing to make four- decker stacks.
Spoon the sauce over the stacks and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven until very hot and bubbling, 20-25 minutes. Serve at once.
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