Crazy for Eggplant...Parm-e-San

by Naila Sheikh

Suffice to say, the weirdly shaped, dark purple vegetable of an eggplant, has captured the every taste bud of mine and I will have to devour it from time to time just to please my 'raging' cravings. Today, was such a day where I was contemplating eating the left-overs of my Chicken Biryani, and as I was going through the drawers of my refrigerator to seek some sort of culinary inspiration for today's dinner serving, I stumbled upon Eggplant. Basking in its glory amongst other vegetables, l found it temping and started to mess with its deliciousness.


Also, my mind signaled: I. MUST. EAT. PASTA. 


So, to summarize my late afternoon, trying to 'football hold' my 11 month old son from taking scurried footsteps to unexplored spaces of the house, I hurriedly made a medley of my favorites; eggplant parmesan, pasta & spinach. 


I call it the Eggplant Parmesan Spinach Pasta

Here's how: 

- I used Organic Whole Grain DeLallo Pasta: boil it until al dente.

- Prego Sauce: my go-to pasta sauce: Pour a good amount in baking dish on bottom only.

- Frozen Organic Chopped Spinach -- Stir Fry in Pressure Cooker, preferably. (see cooking directions below)

- Superstar of the Day - 1 whole Eggplant : Take off skin and cut thin round slices. Put on paper towel for moisture to drain.

- Italian Breadcrumbs: Pour a good amount in a bowl.

- 1 egg whisked: in separate bowl.

- Parmesan Cheese: Pour a good amount in the same bowl as Breadcrumbs.

- Cilantro and chopped green onions for garnishing. 


 For cooking Spinach:

- 1/2 onion thinly sliced and fried in 3 table spoons of olive oil.

- 2 cloves of garlic, minced, mixed in with the onions.

- 2 table spoons red pepper flakes, thrown in mixture.

- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder, added onto frying.

Add 1 whole pack of spinach in pressure cooker while you are stir frying (doing 'tarqa')  all the onions and masalas. Put on lid and let it welt and cook for 15 min on medium heat.



 - Your thinly sliced eggplant pieces should be ready to be fried. Make sure your breadcrumb + cheese & egg stations are ready while you heat up a frying pan with oil. Dip your eggplant disks in egg and then cover it in cheesy breadcrumb mixture. If you want, you can add 2 table spoons of 'laal mirch' to the breadcrumb station to make it spicy. Fry your disks until golden brown and set them aside on a paper towel. Once you're done, relax, put on some music. You just completed the hard work.

 - Remember that baking dish? Pull it out in front of you and start grabbing your fried eggplant parmesan's, one by one and layer 'em neatly on top of the pasta sauce.




Sprinkle with extra Parmesan, cilantro and chopped green onions. Remember the pasta you put on boil? Drain it. Now, layer it on top while also adding a layer of your cooked spinach. One layer of spinach is enough; you'd want the focus of attention to be your Eggplant Parmesan. Repeat layers and top off with cheese & green onions. Bake it in the oven for 20 min. at 350 degrees.














The end result: