Foodie Blogroll

Friday, September 2, 2011

Cheesy Paradise

Dinner for tonight was a gluten free version of manicotti. Traditionally, manicotti is made using gluten-y noodles but who needs noodles when you have eggplant? The noodles aren't missed at all as each bite is a heavenly harmony between three cheeses, marinara sauce, fresh basil, and roasted eggplant. I found this recipe in a cookbook by Rocco Dispirito that transforms fattening dishes into healthy ones. This manicotti certainly  fits the theme and is positively healthy considering the ingredients.

Eggplant Manicotti
Gluten Free * Vegetarian
Serves 4

1 large eggplant ( about 8 inches long and 5 inches wide)
Salt and pepper
1 cup fat free ricotta
1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese (expensive but completely worth the money)
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1.5 cups marinara sauce (check for gluten; I use Classico Tomato and Basil)
1 cup shredded reduced fat mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Use a large knife (a santoku works best if you have one) to square off the eggplant and make it easy for slicing. Next, slice the eggplant lengthwise into 8 slices that are about 1/6-inch wide. Lay the eggplant slices on the prepared baking sheets and coat with nonstick spray. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Roast the eggplant for about 20 minutes or until almost tender. Remove eggplant, but leave oven on.

4. While the eggplant is cooling, combine the ricotta, 1/4 cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and the basil in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Spread 3/4 cup of the marinara sauce over the bottom of a 7x10 baking dish (I just used a 9x13 pan and didn't spread the sauce all the way to the edges).

6. Lay the roasted eggplant slices on a cutting board. Spoon 1/8 of the ricotta mixture onto the bottom of each eggplant. Roll up jelly roll style to wrap the filling. Nestle the manicotti seam side down in the baking dish. Pour the remaining 3/4 cup of marinara sauce on top and sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese and remaining 1/4 cup parmigano-reggiano.

7. Bake about 18 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and the filling is hot.

Nutrition Information-- Approximately 238 calories per serving (2 rolls), 8.3g fat, 21g protein, 19g carbohydrates

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