Cubing eggplant cuts cooking time for Italian classic

The Miami HeraldSeptember 4, 2013 

FOOD QUICKFIX MI

Make eggplant Parmesan on the stovetop in no time.McCLATCHY TRIBUNE

AL DIAZ — MCT

When I see large, beautiful eggplants in season now, I think of one of my husband's favorite dishes, eggplant Parmesan. It usually takes time to prepare. I created this quick version so we could have it more often.

Cutting the eggplant into small pieces helps it to cook and absorb the sauce flavor in only 20 minutes. Add microwaved brown rice to complete this quick dinner.

Fred Tasker's wine tip: With all those cheeses, this would go well with a nice, big California chardonnay.

Helpful hints

• Use a skillet or casserole that can be placed under the broiler for a few minutes.

• Minced garlic can be found in jars in the produce department.

STOVETOP EGGPLANT PARMESAN

3/4 pound eggplant (about 4- 1/2 cups cubed)

Vegetable oil spray

2 cups chopped frozen onion

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 cups low-sodium crushed tomatoes

Several drops hot pepper sauce

1 cup part-skim milk ricotta cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons skim milk

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

Heat broiler. Wash eggplant; do not peel. Cut into pieces about 1/2-inch thick by 1-inch.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and spray with vegetable oil spray. Brown eggplant in skillet, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and saute 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in crushed tomatoes and hot pepper sauce. Bring to a simmer, lower heat to medium, cover and cook 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix ricotta and Parmesan cheeses together. Stir in milk.

When eggplant mixture is finished, add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and spread cheese mixture over the top. Place under the broiler, about 6 inches from the heat to until a golden crust forms, 2 to 3 minutes. Watch to make sure cheese does not burn. Remove from broiler and sprinkle basil on top. Serve with brown rice. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 436 calories (36 percent from fat), 17.6 g fat (9.9 g saturated, 2.8 g monounsaturated), 54 mg cholesterol, 28.2 g protein, 45.6 g carbohydrates, 11.7 g fiber, 510 mg sodium.

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