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Baked Eggplant with Three Cheeses

Eggplant aficionados will love this healthful Weight Watchers recipe, which layers broiled eggplant slices with cheesy goodness, aka: ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

For those of you who are eggplant shy, this is your call to action. Eggplant has a reputation for absorbing tons of oil when it's sautéed, (which is true, because it's very absorbent) but in this case it's lightly sprayed with cooking spray and broiled. What's not to love about any vegetable covered with three cheeses and steeped in marinara sauce? You may not even miss the fact that there's no pasta involved!

Speaking of pasta, I recently returned from a three-week visit to my oldest and best friend, Michael, who retired and moved to Lucca, Italy 6 years ago. He taught me how to make pasta in an Atlas pasta machine. Once you get the hang of it, it's quite easy to turn out delectable homemade fettuccine in minutes, which leads me to an obvious question for those of us trying to control our weight: can you eat pasta and still lose weight? The answer is a resounding yes. Pasta is a carb, but it's low in calories. The key, as in all things delicious, is moderation and portion control. More on that in another post.

Back to our eggplant recipe: I suggest seeking out a jarred marinara sauce that contains NO added sugar. I used Lidia's Tomato Basil Sauce (purchased at my local supermarket). Always read labels. Sugar and high fructose corn syrup are cheap additives to processed foods that we don't need to eat or pay for!

1 large eggplant (about 1 1/4 lb.)

cut into 1/2-inch thick rounds

3/4 cup marinara sauce, divided

1 cup part-skim ricotta

6 Tbsp. shredded part-skim mozzarella, divided

4 Tbsp. grated Parmesan, divided

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

Preheat broiler. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange eggplant slices in a single layer on the sheet. Spray with cooking spray.

Broil until well browned, about 5 minutes. Turn the eggplant slices over and spray again. Broil until well browned on the other side and tender, about 5 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and reduce temperature to 375 degrees F.

Spread 1/2 cup sauce on the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish. Top with half the eggplant. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 4 Tbsp. mozzarella, 2 Tbsp. Parmesan, salt and black pepper. Spread the mixture over the eggplant.

Top with the remaining eggplant, then spoon over the remaining 1/4 cup sauce and sprinkle with the remaining 2 Tbsp. mozzarella and 2 Tbsp. Parmesan.

Bake until the sauce is bubbly around edges and the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes. Let the eggplant stand for 5 minutes before cutting into 4 pieces.

Serves 4

WW Points

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