Eggplant and Orzo Bake

Ingredients

1 large eggplant (about a pound), cubed and salted

1 large eggplant (about a pound), cubed and salted

2 teaspoons herbs de Provence

2 teaspoons herbs de Provence

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup olive oil

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1/2 sweet onion, diced

1/2 sweet onion, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1 rib celery, diced

1 rib celery, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14.5-oz.) can Muir Glen® fire roasted diced tomatoes

1 (14.5-oz.) can Muir Glen® fire roasted diced tomatoes

8 ounces orzo pasta, cooked

8 ounces orzo pasta, cooked

8-10 ounces mozzarella, cubed

8-10 ounces mozzarella, cubed

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper
Serves 6

Big eggplant chunks baked with orzo pasta and lots of cheese. Original recipe by Nick Evans of Macheesmo.

Preparation & Directions

  1. Cube eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes. Place cubes in a colander and sprinkle with about a teaspoon of kosher salt. Put a bowl filled with water on top of the eggplant to press. Let sit for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prep other ingredients.
  2. Cook orzo according to package. When done, rinse with cold water and toss orzo with a drizzle of olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. When eggplant is done pressing, rinse with cold water. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add eggplant pieces and cook for 8-10 minutes until eggplant pieces are browned and lightly charred. Add herbs de Provence and red pepper flakes to the eggplant and cook for another minute. Remove from the pan.
  4. Add another drizzle of oil to the skillet. Add onions, carrots, celery, and red pepper and cook until veggies are softened. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  5. In a large bowl, stir together eggplant, veggies, orzo, Muir Glen® Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, and cubed mozzarella. Season the mixture with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a 2 1/2 quart (or 9x13) baking dish. Dust heavily with grated Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F. covered with foil. Then uncover and bake for another 15-20 minutes.
  8. Serve baked pasta while warm!