Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Eggplant Orzo

Step right up to this fabulous, fresh, and unforgettable dish! We are meat type of people, but you cannot go wrong with this vegetarian plate. Just trust me on this! Get er' done before all your favorite summer veggies are out of season!!

Now, this takes some prep time before you bake the beast, but it is so totally worth it, I promise!

1 large eggplant, cut into 3/4'' cubes
salt and black pepper
1/4 C olive oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces, orzo (you don't have to boil it)
1 t tomato paste
1 1/2 C vegetable stock
1-3 T fresh oregano, chopped
4 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/3'' cubes
1/2 C + freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 medium tomatoes, diced

1. Sprinkle your eggplant generously with salt and let it sit for 30 minutes in a colander. Prep the other veggies in the meantime. After 30 minutes, rinse it well and pat dry with paper towels.

2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the eggplant. Fry for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Use a slotted spoon to transfer eggplant to paper towels to drain. 

3. Add celery and carrots to remaining oil and cook 3 minutes before adding onion and garlic. Cook together for 5 minutes on medium heat. Stir in the orzo and tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes more.

4. Off heat, add the oregano, mozzarella, Parmesan, tomatoes, fried eggplant, 1 t table salt, many grinds of black pepper, and the stock. Mix well.

5. Transfer to an 8x11'' baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes, then 10 minutes without the foil. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.  

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