| "This is a fun, creative approach to healthful eating. In the past I sauteed the filling ingredients in whole butter for what I thought was better taste, but found that using Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil rendered a better taste if seasoned properly and of course makes it more healthy. Customers who I've made it for also like to know that it is prepared in such a fashion due to the current concerns in heart disease and healthful diets."
1 medium eggplant, sliced 3/8 inches thick
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste and as needed
1/2 cup COLAVITA Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
2 shallots, diced
8 cloves garlic, crushed, divided
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 cup dry red wine
1 (16 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 medium Vidalia onion, thinly sliced
10 ounces baby spinach, cleaned
1 bunch fresh basil, large leaves for dish, small tops reserved for garnish
1 (8 ounce) can white beans (cannelloni or great northern) rinsed and lightly warmed
2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan Regiano cheese
1. Place eggplant on tray and sprinkle some of the kosher salt on it. Wait several minutes. You will start to see a liquid emerges from the surface. This liquid is what sometimes makes the eggplant bitter in taste. Flip the pieces over and repeat on the other side. Rinse well in cold water and set aside.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium, heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat. Saute the shallots until translucent, then add 6 of the cloves of garlic and saute another minute, not letting the garlic brown. Add the sugar and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir; deglaze with red wine. Add crushed tomatoes and simmer for 30-60 minutes. Add fresh thyme and oregano and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve.
3 . Add some of the Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil to saute pan on medium high heat and saute the sliced Vidalia onions. Season slightly with salt and pepper. Set aside.
4. In same pan add some more Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil and on medium high heat saute the spinach and remaining garlic briefly. Don't cook the spinach down all the way. Just until wilted, about 1 1/2 minutes. Set aside.
5. In a casserole dish oiled with olive oil, line up six pieces of the eggplant flat. Season slightly. Put a little of the spinach mixture on each then onions then fresh basil. Repeat so that there is three layers of assorted mixture with three layers of eggplant. Cap them all off with a final piece of eggplant. Pour reserved marinara sauce that you made around the napoleons; reserving some sauce for final presentation.
6. Bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees, for 20-30 minutes. Remove, cool slightly. Place a small amount of sauce on each plate. Carefully take a napoleon out and place it on the sauce. Toss some white beans on and around it. Sprinkle with fresh grated cheese and top with basil tops. Repeat for each plate.Makes 6 servings
Per Serving: 328 Calories (56.8% from fat); 22g Fat4g Sat, 14g Mono, 2g Poly); 11g Protein; 26g Carbohydrates; 7g Dietary Fiber; 7mg Cholesterol; 500mg Sodium. Food Exchanges: 1/2 Grain (Starch) 1/2 Lean Meat; 3 Vegetable; 4 Fat.