Friday, July 6, 2007

Pizzette di Melanzane/Eggplant Pizzettas

I love eggplants, and lucky for me, so does my husband as I am always experimenting with different ways to cook this lovely purple vegetable. Last night we made one of our favorite summer dishes - Pizzette di Melanzane - something we invented as a healthy, but tasty, way to satisfy our pizza cravings. We have also made this in the winter, when we can find a good eggplant, and substitute a homemade pizza sauce for the fresh tomatoes.

You will need:

One large, firm eggplant, cut crosswise in round slices about 1/2" thick
2 large or 3 small ripe tomatoes, chopped in small cubes (cherry tomatoes also work nicely!)
About 2 balls of fresh mozzarella, dried well and cut in small cubes
About 10 large basil leaves, chopped
Dried oregano, salt and pepper
Olive oil

Generously salt the eggplant slices and place in a colander to release their water for at least 30 minutes. Wipe the salt off with a paper towel and brush with olive oil. Grill on low to medium heat until there are nice grill marks on each side and they appear to be cooked.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

While the eggplant is grilling, combine the tomatoes, mozzarella and half of the basil in a bowl. Add a few generous shakes of dried oregano, some salt and pepper. Combine with a little olive oil (maybe 1 Tbsp.)

Place grilled eggplant slices on a baking sheet and top each with some of the tomato mixture. Bake for about 10 or 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown on top. Before serving, sprinkle remaining fresh basil on top.

Serves 2 as an entree and 4 as a side dish.

Don't forget the wine! A fruity, young Chianti or Dolcetto would be ideal. Buon appetito!

No comments: