Italian Eggplant Bake with Tomato Cream Sauce

{Disclosure: Twin Cities Moms Blog has partnered with Lunchbox for this sponsored post, however all opinions are 100% our own. We’re thrilled to have Melissa sharing another of her amazing recipes using Bertolli’s Reserva collection!}

Italian Eggplant Bake with Tomato Cream Sauce | Twin Cities Moms Blog

If you’re looking for a more nutritious take on a typical ‘lasagna-like’ dish, I’ve got you smack-dab covered here, friends.

My list of positives about this dish may take me into next week so I’m going to try to keep this brief.  It’s savory-cheesy bliss.  It’s comfort central without the heavy, nutrient-less pasta that most lasagnas or Italian bakes come laden with.  My kids straight up dig this stuff because if you pair any vegetable with gobs of cheese and a super succulent tomato sauce, it’s bound to be an automatic score.  And it’s a breeze to put together with a little help from the new Bertolli Reserva Collection.

Italian Eggplant Bake with Tomato Cream Sauce | Twin Cities Moms Blog

I had the opportunity to test out Bertolli’s new Reserva Collection and I couldn’t think of a better dish to try them on than this family favorite, Italian Eggplant Bake with Tomato Cream Sauce.  There are very few seasonings in this dish, so it needs an amazing sauce to add body and vibrancy to it.  That sauce used to be my own homemade marinara.  And now, Bertolli Reserve Marinara with Parmigano-Reggianno Sauce has taken over.  It completed the dish in a way I never thought a store bought sauce would be capable of.

Now, if you know me at all, you know this gal enjoys delicious food.  I work for my food in order to make it taste wonderful.  It’s worth the effort, in my opinion, for both enjoyment and nutritional purposes. So when a product like these sauces come in for the kill and wow me with their simmered-at-home-flavor and take about a bajillion loads of work off my plate? Signed. Sealed. Hooked.

Italian Eggplant Bake with Tomato Cream Sauce | Twin Cities Moms Blog

The sauce is rich and velvety, with just the right hint of sharpness from the parmiagano-reggiano.  But the best surprise about it was the smell of fresh garlic that ran through the house while this baked in the oven.  It’s a sauce full of such amazing taste, with no preservatives or artificial flavors or colors-no wonder why it smells and tastes so ‘real’…it truly is full of ‘real’ ingredients.  My cup of tea, or spoonful of marinara, for that matter 😉

Italian Eggplant Bake with Tomato Cream Sauce | Twin Cities Moms Blog

I’m pretty anxious to get my hands on the other sauces within the Reserva Collection; there’s a Balsamic Vinegar + Caramelized Onion sauce that I have pretty big flatbread plans for…eek!  But as for now, the Marinara with Parmiagano-Reggianno sauce has earned it’s place on my pantry shelf for sure.  Check it out-would love to hear what sort of fun plans you have for yours!

Eggplant Bake with Tomato Cream Sauce

Ingredients

1 Pound Ground Turkey

1 Tablespoon Dried Italian Seasoning

4-6 Tablespoons Sunflower Oil (or other high-heat oil)

2 Large Eggplants, sliced 1/2 inch thick

2/3 Cup Heavy Cream

2/3 Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 (23.9 Ounce) Jar Bertolli Riserva Marinara with Parmigiano-Reggiano Sauce

8 Ounces Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, cut into cubes

Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Fresh Basil, for garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 450. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with olive oil and place on two baking sheets in a single layer. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until both sides are nicely browned. Remove from oven and cool slightly.

While eggplant is roasting, brown turkey and Italian seasoning in a large skillet; drain.  Mix cream and parmesan together in a small bowl; stir well to combine.

Turn the oven down to 375 and grease a 9×9 baking dish. Place half of the eggplant in a layer to cover the bottom of the dish.  If the eggplant overlaps a bit that is just fine. Next layer half of the ground turkey and then half of the marinara. Pour half of the parmesan cream mixture over the top and dot the top with half of the mozzarella cubes.  Repeat the layer: remaining eggplant, remaining ground turkey, remaining marinara, remaining cream mixture, remaining mozzarella.  Sprinkle the top with fresh cracked black pepper.  Place in the oven and bake, uncovered, until bubbling and the top begins to brown, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Melissa
Hi friends, it’s Melissa here! Wife to one pretty stinking great guy and mama to three kids that bring me more joy, love and caffeine cravings than I knew was humanly possible! I love a good workout, broken in clothes and Autumn. But being in the kitchen with my kiddos trumps it all; creating, exploring and getting messy. I believe there is an infinite amount of value in sharing a meal around the table with the people we love, and I hope I can keep that a constant in our home forever. Most of the time you can find me blogging over at www.nourishedpeach.com, and I’m thrilled to be back here connecting with all of you at TCMB!

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