Organic Eggplant Ricotta Lasagna & Slow Cooked Herb Bread
Seduce the senses of the one you love with every bite.
When you want to organize a romantic, delicious and organic experience – indulge your taste buds and sink your teeth into this Organic Eggplant Ricotta Lasagna.
Organic Eggplant Ricotta Lasagna goes best with homemade Slow Cooked Herb Bread. This Herb Bread is infused with jalapeño olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, and my own special combination of herbs. The soft crunch of this warm homemade bread is best served alongside a blend of fig balsamic vinegar and organic olive oil. Enjoy the bread as an appetizer to your main lasagna dish or serve together. The smell of freshly made bread will fill the senses – luring your audience into a world of flavorful bliss.
This recipe goes well with your favorite red wine.
Organic Eggplant Ricotta Lasagna
2 – Large Eggplants
1 ½ lb. – Ground Sirloin (substitute with ground beef or ground turkey)
2 – 5 Tablespoons – Bari’s Organic Olive Oil
1 – Bay Leaf (whole)
1 cup – Frozen Spinach (chopped)
¼ cup - Onion (chopped)
2 tablespoons – Ground Cumin
½ cup – Parmesan Cheese (grated)
1 cup – Mozzarella Cheese (grated)
1 can – Chunky Marinara Sauce (with thick tomatoes)
½ cup – Baby Portobello Mushrooms (chopped)
1 tablespoon – Fresh Thyme leaves (finely chopped)
1 ½ cup – Ricotta Cheese
1 – Egg
1 – Garlic Clove (minced)
1 tablespoon – Italian Seasoning (to taste)
3 – Basil Leafs (finely chopped)
Salt and Pepper to taste
You will also need (1) pot, (1) sauce pan, (1) mixer bowl and (1) cooking sheet.
Oven Preparation: 350° degrees
Step 1: Prepare the Eggplants
a) Part 1: Slice
a. Peel the eggplants to remove the skin.
b. Slice eggplants, lengthwise ¼ of an inch.
c. Lay flat on a surface and sprinkle each slice with salt to draw out the moisture and remove the bitterness to improve flavor.
d. Let sit for 20 minutes. (recommend to continue to Step 2 during this time)
b) Part 2: Prep
a. After 20 minutes, take a paper towel and pat dry the slices of Eggplant.
b. Place Eggplant slices on a baking sheet.
c. Drizzle a heavy dose of Bari’s Organic Olive Oil to bring the eggplant to life.
c) Part 3: Bake
a. Place Eggplants into Oven at 350° degrees for 20 minutes.
b. Remove from Oven; set aside.
c. Your eggplant slices are now ready to layer.
Step 2: Prepare Meat Mixture
d) Part 1: In an Iron Skillet, Prepare Ground Sirloin (or Ground Beef)
a. Season Ground Meat with Cumin, Salt & Pepper.
b. Heat up an Iron Skillet and add 2 Tablespoons of Bari’s Organic Olive Oil.
c. Mix the Ground Meat with Olive Oil inside your skillet.
d. Add Italian Seasoning.
e. Add Bay Leaf to provide fragrance and flavor while your meet is cooking.
f. Cook meat for 15 minutes or until meat is brown. (Discard Bay Leaf when cooked)
e) Part 2: In a separate pot, prepare marinara sauce
a. Heat up chunky marinara sauce inside a pot until it boils.
b. Proceed to Part 3, until the marinara sauce comes to a boil.
f) Part 3: For Ground Meat
a. Remove ground meat from Iron Skillet
i. Place in a bowl, cover and set aside.
b. In the same skillet, add 2 Tablespoons of Bari’s Organic Olive Oil.
c. Then, add Onions and Mushrooms with Olive Oil.
d. Let it cook for 5 minutes.
e. Then, add Spinach (make sure it has been thawed)
f. Mix and stir for 5 minutes.
g. Then, mix in the Ground Meat.
g) Part 4: Combine Ingredients
a. Blend together the marinara sauce with ground meat mix.
b. Your sauce is now ready to layer.
Step 3: Prepare Ricotta Filling
h) In a bowl, mix the Ricotta Cheese with 1 Egg, grated Parmesan Cheese and minced Garlic Clove.
i) Mix well, cover and set aside.
j) Your filling is now ready to layer.
Step 4: Layer Lasagna inside a 10x15 Baking Dish (spray with Non-stick)
k) First Layer – Eggplant slices
l) Second Layer – Ground Meat Mixture
m) Third Layer – Ricotta Filling
n) Repeat (2x)
o) On top of the final layer, add a layer Mozzarella Cheese.
p) Cover baking dish with aluminum foil.
a. Make sure foil is loose; NOT touching the Mozzarella.
Step 5: Cook Lasagna
q) Place Lasagna Dish into Oven at 350° degrees for 30 minutes.
r) After 30 minutes, remove foil.
s) Then, place Lasagna Dish back into oven for additional 3 minutes to give cheese a brown color.
t) Remove Lasagna from Oven.
u) Allow time for Lasagna to Cool.
You are now ready to serve! If you dare, give this dish a bite with Red Pepper or sprinkle chopped Basil Leaf for garnish. (optional)
Slow Cooked Herb Bread
3 ½ cups – All-purpose Flour
2 ¼ teaspoons – Active Dry Yeast
1 ¼ cup – Warm Water
1 tablespoon – Sugar
1 tablespoon – Kosher Salt
¼ cup – Sun dried tomatoes chop
1 – Garlic Clove (grated)
2 tablespoons – Fresh Rosemary (chopped)
1 tablespoon – Fresh Oregano (chopped)
1 tablespoon – Fresh Basil (chopped)
3 tablespoons – Bari’s Jalapeño Olive Oil plus more for drizzling
For Dipping – Bari’s Organic Olive Oil and Bari’s Fig Balsamic Vinegar
You will also need one (1) slow cooker, one (1) parchment paper, two (2) bowls (small and large) and two (2) small dipping bowls.
Preparation: Set the Slow Cooker to HIGH, cover and give time to warm up. No need for mixer; just use your hands to prepare this bread.
Step 1: Prepare Dough
a) Part A: Prepare Yeast
a. In a small bowl: pour water, sugar and yeast.
b. Mix well, cover and set aside for 15 minutes or until water is bubbling. (Note: if the water does not bubble, you have bad yeast)
b) Part B: Prepare Herb Mix
a. Mix together Rosemary, Oregano and Basil.
c) Part B: Prepare Dough
a. In a large bowl, mix flour, ½ tablespoon of kosher salt, half of the herbs, jalapeño olive oil and sundried tomatoes.
b. Then, add your water/sugar/yeast mix. (Note: for this process you may have to use your hands to make sure it is well mixed – the dough should feel sticky)
c. Fold a few times.
d. Sprinkle with more of Bari’s Jalapeño Olive Oil and cover with a paper towel.
e. Place dough in a warm place. (I like to use the microwave)
f. Let dough rise for one (1) hour.
d) Part C: Flour Surface, Fold Dough
a. Flour a flat surface.
b. Place dough on flat surface and fold several times; form dough into a ball.
Step 2: Cook Dough
e) Part A: Prepare Slow Cooker
a. Line the slow cooker with the parchment paper
b. Drizzle Bari’s Jalapeño Olive Oil onto the parchment paper.
c. Place dough inside slow cooker.
d. Add Rosemary, Salt and Jalapeño Olive Oil drizzle to dough just before you cook.
e. Cover the slow cooker with a few paper towels and then cover with the lid. (Note: the paper towels help to trap the moisture from the lid)
f) Part B: Cook
a. Cook dough on HIGH for two (2) hours
b. After two hours, you may place Herb Bread in broiler for a few minutes to add color and a soft crunch to the outer edges of the crust.
Step 3: Prepare Dipping Mix
g) Part A: Create Olive Oil and Vinegar Mix
a. Into first dipping bowl, pour Bari’s Fig Balsamic Vinegar.
b. Then add, Bari’s Organic Olive Oil.
h) Part B: Create Parmesan Mix
a. Into a second dipping bowl, mix parmesan cheese and herb mix to taste.
Let the Herb Bread cool for 5 minutes and serve! Do NOT forget to include your dipping mix for the bread. You’ll want to cut yourself a generous slice of bread, dip a corner of it into the Olive Oil and Vinegar Mix; then dip it into the Parmesan Mix – and into your mouth.
Oh! So good!
Have a wonderful dining experience!
Final Note: If you plan to make these two recipes for the same meal, then it is recommended to prepare the Herb Bread – first; and then, prepare the Organic Eggplant Ricotta Lasagna – second.