Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Eggplant Florentine

I created this everyday recipe from one huge eggplant , left over pesto & organic wheat spaghetti. I start out by grilling the eggplant, then half cooking the pasta and making a nice spinach & garlic sauce to go over it.

Serves 5

3/4 lb whole wheat spaghetti
3/4 lb ( 1 Bunch of fresh spinach )
4 chicken sausages ( I used garlic n cheese sausages )
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped.
1 Cup 2% milk
4 cubes of light cream cheese ( alternatively you could use 3 tblspns of feta & 1 cube of cheese )
1/2 Cup pesto ( recipe @ )
1 1/4 lb eggplant ( sliced into 1/4" slices, cut bigger slices into half )
1 tblspn all purpose flour
1 tblspn butter
3 tblspns EVOO for grilling the eggplant
1 tblspn EVOO for the spinach sauce
1 tblspn EVOO for pasta
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Start by grilling the slices of eggplant ( alternatively you use a cast iron skillet or any heavy pan ) over med-hi heat. Arrange the slices of eggplant over the pan and drizzle lightly with oil. Turn the slices over after 2-3 minutes until they start turning brown. Repeat above step for all slices of eggplant. Once they are done, set aside and season with salt.

For the pasta, bring about 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt to season. Add pasta and cook for 3 minutes ( use half the al-dente time listed on your pasta box. ). Use a 9x13" baking tray, drain pasta and set aside in the tray. Drizzle the oil over the pasta and toss until evenly coated with oil.

Do not throw away the pasta water. I used this to half cook my sausages (frozen) by putting them into the water for 5 minutes. Slice the sausages into 1/3" thick slices then place over the spaghetti. Drizzle the pesto over the sausages. Break up 3 cubes of light cream cheese and place over the spaghetti. Now cover the sausages and cheese with slices of eggplant.

For the sauce, start by taking a metal drainer and placing the leaves of spinach (cut through the bunch throwing away the stems ) in it. Place the entire drainer into boiling pasta water and leave to cook for 2 minutes ( spinach should look dark green).Alternatively set aside 1 1/2 cups of pasta water and boil the spinach in the remainder of the water which can be discarded once the spinach is done. Drain the spinach and chop roughly, set aside. Microwave the milk for 1 minute and set aside. Place a non-stick skillet over med heat and add butter. When the butter starts melting add in the olive oil and flour. Use a whisk to stir constantly insuring that the flour does not form lumps for 2-3 minutes or until the flour changes color to a light brown. Add in 3/4 cup of pasta water while continuously stirring the sauce. The sauce should thicken to a sludge at this point. Add in the milk and 1 cube of cheese. Continue until the sauce thickens again for about 3-4 minutes while making sure that the flour mixture does not form lumps. Turn down the heat to warm - very low and season the sauce with salt & pepper. Add in the spinach and garlic and continue stirring for another 1 minute. Pour the sauce over the eggplant slices. Cover the spinach sauce with breadcrumbs. ( If that sounds too complicated use store brought Alfredo sauce and adjust salt in this recipe as store brought Alfredo sauces usually contain a amount of salt. )

Bake for 25 minutes on 375F keeping the tray on the middle rack. Then turn the oven to broil and keep for 2-3 minutes ( until the breadcrumbs turn brown ). Serving suggestion : with warm fresh bread.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Prachi's lamger's

Spiced burgers with a fresh green pesto to go along with :)

Serves 5

1.5 Lb course ground lamb
3/4 cup onion finely chopped
1 egg
1 tblspn flour
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp paprika | red chilly powder
1 tblspn ginger garlic paste
1 tsp oil ( + 1 tsp to grease hand )

2 Beefsteak tomatoes 

2 bunches of fresh coriander 
1/2 bunch fresh mint
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup water

Preparations time : 15 minutes 
Leave the lamb outside for 20 minutes prior to start of preparation inorder to bring it to room temperature. Start by breaking up the lamb in a large bowl. Add onion , flour , sugar , salt , pepper , red chilly powder & ginger - garlic. Mix the ingredients into the lamb by folding the meat inside for 3-4 minutes. Add egg and oil (1 tsp ) and mix for another 2 minutes.  Make portions of the lamb by first leveling the lamb and then making 5 parts. Grease your palm with 1tsp oil. Take each part of lamb and make a round ball. Flatten the ball applying gentle pressure evenly until the thickness of the burger is 1/4"- 1/3". The size of the burger should be 4-5" in diameter. 

Preparations time : 30-40 minutes
These burgers can can be seared over a pan or on a grill. Make sure the pan(preferably cast iron or any other thick pan ) is pretty hot. Then place the burgers on the grill without any oil. For medium-well done burgers let them cook for 2.5 minutes on each side. The burgers should start caramelizing ( light - medium brown ). Let the burgers sit for 2-3 minutes before serving. 

Preparations time : 3-4 minutes
For the pesto, 
Add the coriander and mint to a blender and set on puree. Add the water, ground pepper & salt and start to puree the mixture. Open the top lid of the blender and pour in the olive oil until a bright green smooth blend is achieved (2-3 minutes).

Serve the burgers with slices of beefsteak tomatoes and pesto over your favorite kaiser rolls.