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.
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 @ http://ebandook.blogspot.com/2009/10/prachis-lamgers.html )
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.