Roasted Sicilian Eggplant & Ricotta Bake

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A beautiful new grocery store chain opened in my area- so exciting!! On my first visit, the produce section had a giant table covered in vegetables from a Hudson Valley farm (with lovely pictures of the farm hanging over it!). The center of the table had a pile of gorgeous Sicilian eggplant- round, light purple, HUGE…. delicious! I increased the amount of eggplant in this Food and Wine “staff-favorite” dish because I had to buy more than two of these beauties! 🙂

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This dish was a wonderful vegetarian main but would also work as a hearty side dish. The eggplant was tender and sweet with brightness from the lemon zest-seasoned creamy ricotta. The crunchy bread topping was the icing on the cake. We ate it with a fabulous arugula salad on the side. My meat-loving husband enjoyed it too!

  •  3 large Sicilian eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes (2 large eggplants could be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • cooking spray, for greasing the pan
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 scallions, thinly slices
  • 2 T unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 4 T Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 oz baguette, torn into 1/2-inch pieces, crust removed, if desired (I left it for the crunch) (alternatively country white bread could be used)
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees (I set my oven to convection roast.)
  2. On 2 baking sheets, spread the eggplant in an even layer. Drizzle with 6 tablespoons of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss. Roast for 10 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, toss the scallions with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions to the eggplant and dot with the butter. Roast for 15 minutes longer, stirring, until the eggplant is tender.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir the ricotta with the Greek yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and parsley and season with salt and pepper.
  5. In a small bowl, toss the bread with the remaining 1 T of olive oil.
  6. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer the eggplant and onions to the baking dish.
  7. Dollop the ricotta mixture on top and spread to cover. Scatter the bread on top.
  8. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the bread is golden.

Note: The roasted eggplant and onions can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before baking.

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