Who are you and what have you done with the Omnivore?
The Omnivore and I went on vacation a few weeks ago. As part of our loop up north and back down south again, we visited the ‘Vore’s sister and her husband.
The dogs alternated wearing a camera-collar so that they could document their trip for their scrapbook. Here is a picture that Flo took of brother-and-sister-in-law:
They welcomed our entire family into their home:
And fed us like kings. One of the most memorable meals was the Baked Eggplant Parmesean. We all ate multiple servings (but honestly, I think I ate most of the pan) and the Omnivore and I discussed the dish at length after our trip.
Why? Well, as far as I ever knew, the Omnivore hates eggplant. He grows it for me in his garden, but does not indulge in his crop. I eat it alone. So, naturally, when sister-in-law mentioned that she had prepped Eggplant Parm for dinner, my face went white (I hope she didn’t notice).
I turned to the Omnivore, and we exchanged a few blinks, nods, and winks. In the end, we decided he would be a trooper and eat the loathed vegetable. But, as it turned out, he LOVED eggplant. He ate 2 or 3 massive servings. He even asked sister-in-law for the recipe so that I could recreate it at home. Finally! And, by the way, who are you and what have you done with the Omnivore?
So, naturally, I bought an old eggplant shortly after arriving back to the south. And although I did not make Eggplant Parm, per se, I used the same ingredients. May I present to you Inside-out-Eggplant-Parmigiania.
This dish consists of an eggplant half, hollowed out, and stuffed with whole wheat pasta, ricotta cheese, and tomato sauce, topped with breadcrumbs and fresh basil. It is spectacular. A very welcome change from eggplant parmigiana.
But would the Omnivore eat it? I feared not.
He’s kind of like that child of yours that you take out in public…he says “please,” “thank you,” and “nice to meet you,” to strangers, but the minute you step foot inside your own four walls, your child turns into the rude, ungrateful, but very cute, child you know and love.
So, to remedy this situation, I made the following adjustments for the Omnivore:
- White flour pasta
- Extra cheese
- Extra bread crumbs
- ground beef
- Served it with garlic bread
Surely the addition of cheese and bacon would make this recipe a winner, right?
Wrong. Here lies a hollowed out eggplant shell. Apparently, he doesn’t like eggplant when he’s below the Mason-Dixon line. Who would’ve known?
Inside out Eggplant Parm (for 2)
1 medium eggplant, halved and hollowed out somewhat like a mango but leaving 1/4″ of flesh throughout
1 cup cooked pasta
3/4 cup pasta sauce, divided (recipe below or use your own)
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
dots of butter, optional
Quick Stovetop Pasta Sauce (Cooking Light)
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T balsamic vinegar or 1/4 cup red wine
1 large (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 T basil
1 T sugar
2 t oregano
2 T tomato paste
Saute garlic and onion in olive oil. Add sugar, oregano, and vinegar OR wine. Cook for 1 minute. Add can crushed tomatoes and basil. Bring to a boil and then let simmer 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425* Place hollowed eggplants, brushed in olive oil, cut side down on a greased baking sheet. Roast 25-30 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile, boil pasta. When al dente, stir in ricotta cheese and 1/2 cup sauce.
When eggplants are finished roasting, remove from oven, stuff each half with 1/2 of the pasta/ricotta/sauce mixture.
Top with remaining 1/4 cup sauce. Lower oven to 350* Top with cheese, breadcrumbs (and dots of butter), bacon (if desired) and return to oven for 10 minutes, until breadcrumbs are toasted and cheese is melted. Top with fresh basil.