If you like eggplant then you are in for a real treat with this delicious Casserole.
- 3-5 small firm eggplants
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 small to medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- ¼ cup raisins, dried apricots, or cranberries
- Splash white wine or stock of your choice
- 3-4 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- A handful basil leaves, torn or chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
Slice washed eggplant into 1-1 1/2 inch round circles (or slice 1 inch thick lengthwise), place in a large rectangle baking dish preferably in one layer, coat evenly with olive oil then season with salt and pepper. Place in oven to bake for about 15-20 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium high heat add 1 tbsp. olive oil. Peel and dice one eggplant into cubes. Add ground beef to skillet, roughly breaking apart, for just a few quick minutes, then add cubed eggplant, onions, garlic, tomato paste, raisins, and season with salt and pepper. Mix well then add in wine or stock, just enough to give the mix a well-rounded, moist favor and to plump up those raisins (or whatever dried fruit you chose).
Cook until eggplant and onions become tender and the ground beef is fully cooked, about 8 minutes. Once done, remove from heat; mix in pine nuts and basil. Prepare your bread crumbs by placing butter and crumbs in a microwave safe bowl, place in microwave for about 25 seconds or until butter has melted. Remove and mix together well.
Now that your eggplant is tender, remove from oven, cover evenly with ground beef mix, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and bread crumbs; place back into oven for about 7-10 minutes or until cheese has melted and bread crumbs have become nice and golden crispy. Remove, dish and enjoy!