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Recipe #187: Eggplant & Multi-Colored Bell Pepper Tian with Fresh Basil & Sundried Tomatoes

Posted Oct 26 2010 10:16am
Eggplant & Multi-Colored Bell Pepper Tian with Fresh Basil & Sun-dried Tomatoes

Homemade Tomato Sauce (4 c. + 7 T + 1 7/8 tsp. per layer, or 4 c. + almost 7 Tbsp. per layer) 6 c. vine-ripened tomatoes (including juice), diced & drained (about 6 medium sized tomatoes)
6 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 c. sun-dried tomatoes, julienned & tightly packed
1 c. fresh basil, julienned & tightly packed
2 Tbsp. fresh garlic, peeled & finely minced
1/2 c. fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped & tightly packed
2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. ground marjoram
1/4 tsp. crushed red chili pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper, or to taste
1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste

Tian Ingredients:
extra virgin olive oil (for coating bottom of Pyrex glass baking dish)
6 c. Chinese eggplant, sliced crosswise into 1/4" rounds (about 2 very long eggplants) (3 c. per layer)
3 c. red bell pepper, diced (about 2-2 1/2 large peppers)
3 c. orange bell pepper, diced (about 2-2 1/2 large peppers)
2 c. part-skim (lowfat) mozarella cheese, shredded
2 c. Asiago cheese, shredded

Directions: Add all sauce ingredients in a large bowl & thoroughly combine. Set aside. Mix together mozarella & Asiago in a large bowl & set aside. Generously brush (or spray) the bottom of a Pyrex glass baking dish with olive oil, using a pastry brush. Layer eggplant on the bottom of the baking dish, followed by about 4 c. + (almost) 7 Tbsp. tomato sauce, 3 c. red bell pepper, 2 c. cheese mixture. Repeat this sequence, except in the 2nd layer, use 3 c. orange bell pepper. Cover top of baking dish with aluminum foil, with the shiny side facing towards the food. Bake at 375°F in a preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes. From a safe distance, open oven, slide out rack holding casserole dish (using silicone mitts or grippers ), & carefully peel back foil using heat-proof tongs, watching for escaping steam. Remove foil, slide rack back into the oven, and cook casserole, uncovered, for 10-15 more minutes, or until vegetables have become tender & the cheese topping has turned golden brown. (It should also be bubbly.) About 5-10 minutes into cooking, test casserole with a knife or fork; if the tip of the knife/fork goes in with little resistance, it's done. Let cool slightly before serving.

Yield: Makes approximately 12 square portions, about 3" square inches each.

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