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We're pretty solidly into fall weather now, but that doesn't mean some summer produce isn't still available. Case in point: my cousin just gave me a few late-season eggplant from his garden. To do something with them that felt appropriate to the season, I decided to make a lasagna, layering the eggplant and other vegetables with pasta and Gruyère cheese.
For the eggplant layers, I started with the idea of ratatouille, then modified it to give it more of a cold-weather favor profile. That included adding meaty depth with bits of prosciutto, some root vegetable sweetness with diced carrots, and eliminating the summer squash and peppers that are typical. I also added a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for some subtle tartness.
For keep things easy, I sautéed the onions and carrots, then added the peeled eggplant. Once that mixture melds and softens, I add the garlic and pancetta , followed by tomato, vinegar, and crushed red pepper. After simmering for 20 minutes, it's ready for the lasagna.
Because this isn't a by-the-books lasagna, I decided to use a 50-50 mix of Gruyère and mozzarella, for a good combination of melted-mozz stretchiness and nutty flavor. The whole thing is assembled in layers, with some ricotta and marinara thrown in for kicks. Bake it for an hour, and it's all set. I have to say, the only thing that may be better than the taste of summer produce is the taste of summer produce in the fall.