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So off we went last night to our friends, Marissa and Akash, house, for a much needed catch up.

They provided a fabulous dinner, home, precious puppy and beautiful siblings, which you’ll see below, and we provided stories, wine, and a rustic, quick apple tart I literally threw together in less than an hour (you’ll see that post coming up later today).

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Marissa is Italian, and decided to venture into the unknown, cooking a new recipe for Eggplant Parm from her Mario Batali cookbook….of course, like me, she changed the recipe a bit to what was available to her (good job, Mariss!) and the result was FLAWLESS.

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She served it with a great green bean dish that had crushed almonds (I think) and a tangy balsamic wash, and of course, the requisite garlic bread (mmmm, breaaaaaaaaaaad).  There was so much eggplant, Paul went back for seconds.

The eggplant was so meaty, and really held its shape well, even through the baking. It was very light on the bread crumbs and was not fried, so it was healthy and light, but totally satisfying.

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Did she follow the recipe? Sort of, yes. Did it take her a lot of time? More time than throwing together some frozen chicken would, but I don’t think she was scrambling too hard (or at least she didn’t look like it!)

Thank you to the entire family: Akash, Marissa, Amit, and Nina, for having us over. We just adore you all! (and Dino too!)

Have any of you used a Mario Batali recipe? What about your own Eggplant Parm – do you have a recipe that just can’t be beat?

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