Bolognese Eggplant Stacks


Chunky bolognese sauce is stacked between layers of roasted eggplant and seasoned ricotta.
Fall weather is here! At least for a few days before we see mid-70s again.  Hopefully soon the 50s and 60s will be here to stay.
It’s that time of the year when comfort food is king, and even I can’t convince my taste buds to get excited to pull from the new and/or exotic list. I want something known and predictable and simple and for that, this bolognese took the cake.  I’ve been craving it in an insane way which, to be honest, is not like me at all.

I didn’t grown up in a house where spaghetti and meatballs were the go-to dinner, and when mom did make spaghetti, she went all out with a pot that simmered all day long.  Lucky for me, my BFF DID grow up in a big Italian family, so when I need a go-to recipe, she’s my main gal and for her, her go-to is this one from real simple, and that was good enough for me.


bolognese eggplant stacks

Since pasta ain’t my cuppa, I didn’t know how I wanted to eat the sauce (though, seriously, with a spoon was a possible option) so I decided to do sort of a deconstructed lasagna thing. I say this loosely because it’s not swimming in sauce, nor baked the traditional way and isn’t all that cheesy.  So maybe not a lasagna thing…I guess more appropriately eggplant stacks.  The eggplant rounds are baked until cooked and layered with lightly seasoned ricotta and the whole thing is topped with that chunky, perfect sauce.

Bolognese Eggplant Stacks
Serves 4
Hearty bolognese sauce is layered with ricotta and eggplant for a deconstructed lasagna (ish)
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Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
2 hr
Cook Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
2 hr
  1. 2 eggplants, cut into 12 1/2" slices
  2. 1 TB olive oil
  3. 1/2 TB oregano
  4. 1/2 tsp salt
  5. 1/2 tsp pepper
  6. 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta
  7. 1 tsp garlic, diced
  8. 1 tsp black pepper
  9. 1 TB olive oil
  10. 1 large yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  11. 3 stalks celery, diced
  12. 1 carrot, diced
  13. 6 clove garlic, minced
  14. 1/4 pound pancetta, medium dice
  15. 1 pound ground beef (I used 90% lean)
  16. 1 cup dry white wine
  17. 1 cup whole milk
  18. 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  19. 1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
  20. 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  21. 1 tsp sugar
  22. 1 TB dried oregano
  23. 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  24. 1 tsp salt
  25. 1 tsp pepper
  26. pinch nutmeg
  27. 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus more to garnish
  28. 1/4 cup basil, julienne
  1. First, make the bolognese.
  2. In a large, deep stock pot, over medium heat, add the 1 TB oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the celery, carrot, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper and cook 5 minutes more.
  3. Add the pancetta and cook about 5 minutes. Add the beef and cook until brown.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients, cover and let simmer about 1 1/4 hours.
  5. While the sauce boils, make the eggplant. Preheat the oven to 375F. On a foil lined cookie sheet, lay out the eggplant rounds and brush each side with the olive oil. Sprinkle with oregano, salt and pepper and bake about 45 minutes until browned. Set aside until the sauce is done.
  6. Mix together the ricotta, garlic and pepper. Set aside.
  7. Assemble the eggplant stacks: On each plate, place eggplant round and top with 1 heaping TB ricotta. Add about 1/3 cup sauce. Repeat with two more rounds (to create 3 layers), and top with sauce, cheese and basil. Repeat for the remaining 4 plates.
  8. You will have extra sauce, so freeze it for later!
Adapted from Real Simple
Adapted from Real Simple
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World
bolognese eggplant stacks

Whatever you want to call them, they’re sort of ugly-pretty, don’t you think?

bolognese eggplant stacks

Written after a pretty-scary haunted boat ride. Boo!

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