Friday, May 18, 2007

Orzo Casserole

The small, rice-shaped pasta known as orzo is very versatile. Cubed eggplant cooks quickly and with the accompanying sauce and cheese, contributes to the heartiness of this entrée. Offer a bean soup or an Italian-style minestrone to start, and serve Italian ice for dessert (Serves 8).

2 cups uncooked orzo
1 eggplant (about 1 lb.), unpeeled
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups primavera-style spaghetti sauce
1 Tbs. garlic
1 large tomato, cubed
Red pepper flakes to taste, optional
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
3 cups shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
3 Tbs. Parmesan cheese for garnish, optional

1. Preheat oven to 450F. Spray 2- to 3-quart ovenproof baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Bring pot of lightly salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook orzo according to package directions. When just tender, drain, rinse and drain again. Set aside.

3. Cube eggplant. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add eggplant, and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup sauce, garlic, tomato, red pepper flakes (if using) and salt and pepper. Continue cooking 4 to 5 minutes more.

4. Meanwhile, scoop half orzo into baking dish. Layer eggplant on orzo. Sprinkle eggplant with 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Layer remaining orzo on cheese. Spread remaining cheese and 1 cup sauce on orzo.

5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until cheese melts and bubbles. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with Parmesan (if using). Serve hot.

PER SERVING: 380 Calories, 18g Protein, 15g Total Fat (5G Saturated Fat), 42g Carbohydrates, 25mg Cholesterol, 450mg Sodium, 5g Fiber, 8g Sugars.

Orzo Casserole: Vegetarian Times (Daily Recipe - May 15, 2007)

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