Timbale of Eggplant and Lasagna
Timballo di Melanzane e Lasagne
Prepare the Fresh Pasta Sheets. Prepare the Roasted Garlic.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water mixed with a few extra tablespoons of olive oil. Cook 3-4 lasagna sheets at a time in the boiling water to al dente, about 1 minute. Lift the cooked sheets out and plunge directly in the ice water. If you are using dry lasagna, cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain and place the flat sheets on a lightly oiled baking sheet or tray. Repeat with the remaining pasta. If you are stacking or storing the sheets for later use, be sure and brush or spray each piece with a little extra oil to prevent them from sticking. Cover the cooked lasagna with plastic wrap until ready to use.
Slice two of the eggplant into long, ¼” thick slabs. Cut the remaining eggplant in half and score lightly with a knife. Sprinkle eggplant with salt. Place them in a colander and cover with a small plate. Press with a heavy weight such as a can of tomatoes for 10-15 minutes to extract the bitter juices. Pat the eggplant dry.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Brush or spray the eggplant slices with olive oil and place on 2 baking sheets. Roast the eggplant slices for 18-20 minutes, flipping once during cooking, until they are tender and brown on both sides. Remove the slices of eggplant, reduce the heat to 450 degrees and place the remaining eggplant, cut side down onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Roast the eggplant halves until they are softened completely, 20 minutes. Cool slightly and scoop the softened flesh into a small bowl. Discard the skin.
Grease the inside of a deep rectangular baking dish and coat with 2 tablespoons of the breadcrumbs. Line the bottom of the pan carefully with the roasted eggplant slices. Arrange the remaining slices neatly along the inside edge, letting the longer slices flop over the edge of the pan. You should end up with a tight series of slices completely lining the interior and sides of the baking dish.
Gently mix the Roasted Garlic Pulp into the softened eggplant. Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Spread ½ cup of tomato sauce onto the eggplant at the bottom of the pan. Cover the sauce with a layer of the prepared pasta sheets. Spread the pasta with ¼ cup of eggplant and garlic pulp and sprinkle with ¼ of the diced mozzarella, one sliced egg and 1 tablespoon of basil. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle with ½ cup of tomato sauce. Cover with more lasagna sheets and repeat this layering combination to the top of the pan. Finish with a layer of pasta. Fold the eggplant slices that are flopping over the pan edges on to the top of the last layer. Sprinkle with remaining breadcrumbs.
Bake in a preheated 450 degrees oven for 20-25 minutes until the timbale is golden brown and bubbling. Let the timbale rest for 10 minutes and then carefully place a serving dish over the pan. Invert the timbale onto the serving dish and remove the baking dish. Serve the timbale cut into large pieces with any remaining tomato sauce.