Smoked Eggplant Macaroni & Cheese

Feb 11th, 2014 | By | Category: Cheese, Eggplant, Featured, Greek Wine, Herbs, Recipes, Vegetables

IMG_2623This dish came about after brainstorming with “The Dragon” on our recent trip to Chicago. I had prepared as part of the main course a braised lamb in tomato sauce on a bed of smoked eggplant purée. Hunkar Begendi for those who know Istanbul-Constantinople food.

The key to pulling off this dish is getting the flesh of the eggplant to be smoky and that’s done by charring and blackening the flesh on a charcoal or gas grill. The oven won’t give you that smokey flavour. A must.IMG_3917-2

Once you have the charred eggplants, this dish is straightforward – mashed eggplant purée is mixed into a basic Bechamel, cheeses are added and some chives and roasted red peppers for colour.

This is a wonderful take on Macaroni and Cheese and one that I’ll make over and over. I love all things smoked and the though of eggplant blended into my Mac n’ Cheese puts a smile on my face. Your belly will thank you too!IMG_2631-001

Smoked Eggplant Macaroni & Cheese

(serves 4-6)

2 cups elbow macaroni

1 charred/smoked eggplant

1 roasted red pepper, skins peeled, seeded and diced

Bechamel

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

3 Tbsp. all purpose flour

1 small onion, finely diced

3 cups whole milk, warm

1/4 cup cream cheese

1 cup sharp grated cheese (I used Kefalograviera)

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives

salt and pepper to taste

Garnishes

1/3 cup bread crumbs

1/2 tsp. sweet paprika

pre-heated 450F oven

Garnish

fried eggplant chips

  1. Place a medium pot of water on your stove-top and bring to a boil. Add salt and the pasta and stir. Boil for about 6 minutes, drain (add some oil and toss to keep from clumping) and reserve in a buttered deep casserole dish.
  2. To a medium pot, add the butter over medium heat then the onions and sweat for 5-6 minutes. Add the flour and stir for a minute then add the milk, 1/2 cup and stir in. Add the remaining milk 1/2 cup at a time until thick.
  3. Meanwhile, cut your eggplant lengthwise in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon (discard skins) and mash up with a fork. Add to Bechamel and stir in then add the cream cheese, stir in then the grated cheese.
  4. Add the diced red pepper, chives and stir in. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and reserve.
  5. Add the smoked eggplant mixture to the pasta and toss to incorporate. Top with breadcrumbs and paprika and place in your pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until top is just golden. Take out of the oven and allow 10 minutes to cool.
  6. Divide and serve with a Chatzimihalis Sauvignon Blanc.IMG_2615

 

 

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© 2014, Peter Minakis. All rights reserved.

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8 Comments to “Smoked Eggplant Macaroni & Cheese”

  1. Sunita says:

    What a beautiful dish! Thanks for sharing! Btw, how much flour did you use in your bechamel? I don’t seem to see it in the ingredients list.

  2. Oh wow – this sounds superb! The picture of the charring aubergine is particularly enticing.

  3. What a wonderful flavor!

  4. Calliope says:

    I guess a minor stroke! How come I didn’t see the flour in the recipe?

  5. tovah says:

    yummy dish even my husband who wants meat in everything loved it

  6. nice! we char eggplants so often here yet always end up with the usual mussaka lebanese style or baba ghannouj; this would please the patriarch of the family, a die-hard pasta fan

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