Posted by: Anja | March 15, 2012

Eggplant Mac & Cheese

These last few weeks, I had to take some time off to settle into my new surroundings since I have – yet again – moved. This time I’m back to the US, still the east coast but different area altogether. I am currently residing in New Jersey close to NYC which has been proven to be a great distraction from blogging during the weekends. I love, love, LOVE NYC and all the food that you can get there. There’s just an abundant variety of everything – whatever you’re lusting for, you can find it in New York. So far I’ve been to a Korean soup place, to the famous Shake Shack and a really good Chinese place, but I’ll definitely come back for more.

Moving also provided me with better cooking and baking opportunities because I finally have a working oven again. I’ve been abusing that circumstance massively these last weeks, getting back into baking with muffins, biscotti and new bread variations. I got a couple of good recipes lined up, but somehow I always forget to take pictures. So sorry!

When I talked to a friend of mine last week, I told him about the mushroom mac & cheese that I had made that day from leftovers and without any real recipe and he got a little bit jealous and asked me to put it on here. Well, I forgot to take pictures x_x, but I’m trying to make up for that with today’s recipe which is another mac & cheese variation with eggplant. I’ve never been much of a breadcrumb fan but I’m slowly changing sides because of my constant mac & cheese intake. Mix them with parmesan and butter to top off the dish and they’re just divine! In this recipe, I also use them to coat the eggplant for frying which turned out very yummy.

Eggplant Mac & Cheese

1 small eggplant / half a large one
ca. 1 cup of breadcrumbs
salt, pepper
1-2 eggs
300g pasta
6.5 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of flour
1 cup milk
ca. 200g white cheddar
50g parmesan

First step: Preheat the oven to 160C or 350F. Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the pasta and cook al dente. Drain and set aside.

Second step: Heat a pan to medium heat. Cut the eggplant into mouth-sized cubes. In a deep dish, mix one egg with some salt and pepper to taste. In another deep dish, spread breadcrumbs so that they cover the bottom completely. Dunk the eggplant into the egg mixture to coat them completely, then dip them into the breadcrumbs. Melt some butter in the pan and brown the eggplant. You’ll probably have to batch fry the eggplant, add some butter after every turn. Altogether it took me about 3 tablespoons of butter to fry everything.

Third step: In a large pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat then add the flour and whisk to combine smoothly. Add the milk and bring to a simmer. Add 150g of the cheddar and whisk until it is completely melted. Pour the pasta into the pot and use a spoon to cover the pasta with the sauce.

Fourth step: Pour half of the pasta into a baking form. Spread the eggplant on top, then another layer of pasta.

Fifth step: Melt another 1.5 tablespoons of butter in a small pan. Meanwhile, grate the remaining cheddar and parmesan. Add 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs and the butter and stir to combine everything. Basically, the cheese should be slightly covered with crumbs. Distribute evenly on top of the pasta. Put the dish into the oven for 15-20 minutes until a golden brown on top.

This recipe makes enough for two portions! :)
As I used one big eggplant, I cut the remaining parts into rings, dipped them into the egg mix and then into the breadcrumbs and fried them as a snack!

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