Eggplant Parmesan and Kale Risotto Towers

We had a hankering for Eggplant Parmesan, but we also had a little time to play around with it, so instead of serving it over pasta, we decided to make some risotto and layer everything up in a “lasagna” sort of way. In making this dish, we made a few eggplant decisions based on our tastes, e.g. leaving the skin on, cutting it into thick slices, and baking it. However, you can reverse any of those decisions based on what you like, and make this stack your own. Heck, you can even swap out the risotto for polenta patties, mozzarella slices, ricotta, etc. to really customize this meal.

There are a lot of components to juggle while making this meal, so I struggled a bit trying to figure out how to construct the “method” section. I started to write the steps in chronological order, but it got messy very quickly…In the end, I decided to write the instructions for each of the three components separately and give a quick pointer as to when to start each process. I hope it’s easy enough to follow the steps. and I apologize in advance if it is not.

Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • For the Eggplant Parmesan
    • Eggplant
    • Bread Crumbs
    • Egg
  • For the Risotto (good for 2-3 towers)
    • 1/2 Cup Arborio Rice
    • 2 1/2 Cups Water
    • 1 Tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar
    • An Onion
    • Kale
    • Dried Basil
    • Dried Oregano
    • Garlic Powder
  • Either crack open a jar or can of sauce, or make your own:
    • Tomatoes
    • Fresh Garlic
    • Dried Oregano
    • Dried Basil
    • Honey (or sugar)

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  • For your Sauce (skip this if using pre-made sauce):
    • Wash and core your tomatoes, line a baking sheet, and roast them for about 20 minutes until the skin cracks and becomes easy to peel.
    • Remove from the oven, and let cool. Then, peel the skins off, and put into your food processor with your fresh garlic, dried oregano, and dried basil, and puree.
    • Pour your sauce into a sauce pan, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes (adding some sugar or honey to taste to thicken and to sweeten/reduce acidity)
  • For the Risotto (begin after the tomatoes have been roasting for about 10 minutes):
    • Pour your water, vinegar, dried basil, dried oregano, and garlic powder into a sauce pan, and bring it to a simmer
    • While your water heats, dice your onion, and slice your kale.
    • Heat up a pan with some oil in the bottom, and add your onions. Cook until they become opaque. Then, add your arborio rice, and toast lightly until it starts to brown. At that point, stir in your kale, and sautee for another minute.
    • Pour in about a quarter of your simmering water, and stir together. Let sit, stirring occasionally until the water is absorbed.
    • Repeat, adding about 1/4 of your original water amount each time until the water is all absorbed by the risotto (at this point, the risotto should be nice and creamy)
  • For your Eggplant Parm (Start after adding your first batch of water to your risotto pan):
    • Wash and slice your eggplant to your desired thickness. Remove skin if you like. Line a baking sheet with some foil, and give it a quick oil spray.
    • Crack and beat an egg in one bowl, and pour some bread crumbs in another.
    • Working one by one, dip your eggplant slices into your egg bowl, and then shake it around in your bread crumb bowl to coat before placing it on your baking sheet.
    • Give a quick oil spray atop your eggplant slices, and toss them in the oven for 15 minutes. Note, you can also fry them if you prefer…if so, ignore my timing suggestion.
    • Flip your eggplant slices, and bake for another 15 minutes.
  • Built your towers:
    • Put the largest eggplant parm slice on your plate, and then scoop some risotto on, and spread it so it completely covers your eggplant.
    • Layer another eggplant slice and risotto layer atop.
    • Lastly, put one more eggplant slice on, and top it off with your sauce and some Parmesan cheese.
  • Devour and enjoy!

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