Eggplant With Vodka Sauce

08aLeftoverWithProvolonebfLOSo, yeh, this little beauty was what I had for lunch today… leftover oven-fried eggplant layered with provolone and shredded Mozz, Parmesan and Asiago cheeses in a very nice vodka sauce.

Nice; especially leftover, fresh from the ‘wave with a disk of melted provolone and some Aleppo pepper on top. I made this batch with some fresh, store-made, Polish sausage (not kielbasa), but you could most certes do this up vegetarian and still consider yourself quite well fed.

Oven Fried Eggplant:
•1 eggplant, sliced
•1-1/2 cup corn flake crumbs
•1/2 cup bread crumbs
•1/8 tsp Cayenne
•1/4 tsp paprika
•1/4 tsp Tellicherry (black) pepper
01bCornFlakesSpicesbfLO•1/4 tsp garlic powder
•1/4 tsp onion powder
•1/2 tsp dried parsley
•1/2 tsp dried basil
•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•2 eggs
•1/4 cup milk

Vodka Sauce:
•1-1/2 lb sausage
•2 tbsp sherry peppers sauce (optional)
•1 onion, diced
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
02aCrumbsPlatebfLO•1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 (26 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
•1/2 jar spicy veggie juice (or tomato juice)
•1/3 cup vodka
•3/4 cup creamed cottage cheese
•1/2 tsp dried basil
•1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

To put it together:
•Oven-fried eggplant
•Vodka sauce
•Provolone cheese
•Fresh Mozzarella

02bEggplantEggbfLOHeat the oven to 375º, line a large baking pan with foil, insert a rack, and apply cooking spray.

Combine the corn flake and bread crumbs together in a blender jar and pulse until you have a very fine texture. Transfer to a large, flat bottomed bowl or plate and set aside.

Whisk the eggs together with the milk in a shallow bowl.

02dEggplantBakedbfLOSlice the eggplant 1/2 inch thick, then dip in the egg and milk mixture, flipping to coat each side well.

Transfer each egg-coated slice to the seasoned crumb mixture and toss to coat well.

Arrange each bread slice on the rack set into the baking pan and repeat until all the slices have been dipped and coated.

03bSausageCookedbfLOPop into the hot oven and bake for 15 minutes, then flip each slice over, and return to the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Remove the sausage from its casings and cook over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven, breaking up any large pieces and stirring in the sherry peppers sauce as you cook, until the sausage is cooked through and nicely crumbled. Transfer the sausage to a colander to drain and set aside.

04aOnionbfLODrizzle a bit of olive oil in the bottom of the Dutch oven – or leave a little of the rendered sausage fat in the pan – add the onion and sauté for three minutes.

Stir in the garlic, crushed red pepper, and the Aleppo pepper, and continue to cook for two more minutes.

Turn the heat to low and add your favorite jarred spaghetti sauce to the pot, then fill the jar about half way with spicy veggie juice, or tomato juice, or plain old water. Screw the lid back on and give the jar a good shake to gather any remaining good bits and add to the sauce in the pot.

04dCottCheeseSmoothbfLOStir in the seasonings, the drained cooked sausage, and the grated Parmesan cheese.

Remember using the blender to really pulverize the seasoned corn flake and bread crumbs?

05aVodkaSaucebfLOWell, I wouldn’t ask you to dirty an appliance for just one, simple task. Add some regular, full-fat cottage cheese (it’s only 4% milk fat, and do yourself a favor and read the label to compare ingredients between 4%, 2%, and non-fat – I believe you’ll stick with the 4%) and pulse until the cheese is smooth and creamy.

Add the creamed cottage cheese to the pot along with the rest of the ingredients and stir until the cheeses are melted and the sauce thick and creamy.

Give it a taste, then add a bit of salt, if you think it needs it – I stirred in about 1/2 teaspoon.

06aEggplantSaucebfLOEggplant and vodka sauce made, it’s time to complete the dish…

Heat the oven to 400º, and arrange a layer of eggplant slices over the bottom of a 2-1/2 quart baking dish.

Spoon vodka sauce over to cover, then add a layer of provolone slices, shredded mozzarella, and, if you feel like it, a bit of shredded Parmesan.

07aAltEggplantVodkaSaucebfLOTop with another layer of eggplant, then more sauce and another layer of cheeses.

Finally, add the last of the eggplant, cover with the remaining vodka sauce, and sprinkle shredded mozz and Parmesan over the top.

Bake, uncovered, for thirty minutes, until heated through and bubbling, and the cheese is browned a bit.

A salad, mebbe some nice bread, and a decent red wine, it doesn’t get much better.

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