- 2 medium sized eggplant
- 10-12 oz. baby spinach cooked and drained
- 1 lb ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs beaten
- a pinch of fresh nutmeg (optional)
- ½ lb Italian sausage cooked, crumbled
- 1 ¼ C. parmesan cheese grated
- 16 oz tomato sauce
- 8 oz ball fresh mozzarella cheese
- olive oil
- kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 5 or 6 fresh basil leaves for garnish
Peel eggplants and cut vertical slices ¼ inch thick.
Season both sides liberally with kosher salt. Place eggplant slices between paper towels to draw away some of the moisture. Place a layer of towels on counter. Place a layer of eggplant on towels and cover with another layer of towels. Add another layer of eggplant and another layer of towels. When you have this all stacked, put some weight on top (a cutting board with a heavy pot on top). You’re just trying to squeeze some moisture from the eggplant.
Let the eggplant set for about an hour.
Start BBQ grill (stove top grill or grill pan works fine too).
Rinse salt from eggplant. pat dry and brush both sides with olive oil.
Grill eggplant 2-4 minutes per side. Eggplant should have nice grill marks and be tender.
Set cooked eggplant aside.
Chop cooked spinach and add to medium bowl with ricotta, eggs, optional nutmeg and 1 C. Parmesan. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and mix together.
Preheat oven 350F.
Lightly oil a 9×13 casserole. Spread ½ of the tomato sauce on the bottom.
Place an eggplant slice on your work surface. Place a generous dollop (1 ½ tbs) of the cheese mixture in the center of the eggplant. Add a tsp or more of Italian sausage. Fold the ends of the eggplant over the top of the filling and place eggplant seam side down in casserole. Repeat with remaining eggplant. Top casserole with remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle with ¼ C. Parmesan.
Finish top of casserole with slices of fresh mozzarella ball.
Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 more minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool 10 minutes before serving. This allows the cheese to set up a little bit and not run out of the eggplant.
Garnish with fresh basil.