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Avanti Restaurant Eggplant Lasagna

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Ingredients

Lasagna

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 6 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (1 cup)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Pesto

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 bunches fresh basil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 ounces pine nuts (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (6 tablespoons)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large ripe tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Chopped fresh basil, to taste

Instructions

  1. Lasagna: Prepare grill. Peel and slice eggplant lengthwise into long, thin strips. Brush each side with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill over hot coals, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Set aside.
  2. Pesto: In the bowl of a food processor, combine olive oil, basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Process for 1 minute or until finely chopped. Set aside.
  3. Tomato Sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the garlic for about 1 minute.
  4. Core the tomatoes and puree in a food processor.
  5. Add pureed tomatoes to the saucepan and cook over medium heat for 30 to 40 minutes.
  6. Add salt and pepper and fresh basil to taste.
  7. To assemble the lasagna, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13 x 9-inch pan.
  8. Place 1 layer of lasagna noodles in the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with 1 layer of grilled eggplant. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the eggplant slices, then top with a thin layer of pesto. Repeat this process 3 or 4 times or until no noodles or eggplant remain. Top with grated Parmesan and any remaining tomato sauce. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover tightly with parchment paper and aluminum foil.
  9. Bake for about 40 minutes.

Yield: 4 large servings, but can easily serve 6 to 8

Source: Avanti Restaurant of Distinction, Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona