Serves 8 generously, may be frozen
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ pound ground Angus Chuck
- 6 ounces mushrooms, diced
- 1 green pepper, seeded and diced
- ⅔ small white onion, diced
- ½ tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ tablespoon parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
- Salt to taste
- 1 large eggplant
- 1½ cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- ½ cup sliced kalamata or small black olives, rinsed and drained well
- 12 ounces tomato sauce, unseasoned
- ¾ pound Mozzarella cheese, cubed small
- ½ cup mozzarella, finely shredded
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- Red pepper flakes – optional
Spray a very large and deep frying pan with oil and put over medium high heat.
Add 3 tablespoons olive oil. When hot, add beef and begin to brown, breaking into large chunks.
Add mushrooms, green pepper, and onion and sauté until onion is transparent.
Add garlic and sauté another minute then add parsley, black pepper and salt to taste. Turn off burner and set mixture aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel and dice eggplant.
Spray another large skillet with oil, then add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Turn heat to high and add eggplant to skillet. Continuously stir eggplant, brown lightly on all sides, then drain in colander. Eggplant absorbs a lot of oil and throws a lot of oil when baked.
In a 4-quart or larger bowl, put mixture from first skillet, eggplant, and breadcrumbs. Stir well.
Add olives, ½ of the tomato sauce and mozzarella cubes and stir well again. Put all into a well-greased 9×9 inch baking dish that goes from oven to table. Combine remaining tomato sauce and shredded mozzarella with cream and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour sauce over casserole. Sprinkle Parmesan and crushed red pepper flakes over all.
Put casserole in preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until heated through, being careful not to let top darken too much. If top gets too dark put a foil tent over casserole for remainder of baking time.
Drain or spoon off excess oil.
Serve as a main course with a pasta side dish or crunchy hot Italian bread, or as a side dish with Spaghetti and Meatballs or other Italian dishes.
Down Home Delicious®