This dish was inspired by the breakfast my grandmother always made me - Sweet Potato Congee with side dishes of sauteed spinach with black mushrooms, & asian eggplant with savory basil leaves. I took these flavors and spun a westernized twist by layering it into a sweet potato lasagne, and infusing with culturally diverse flavors. The eggplant is marinated in a blend of olive oil and Italian herbs, the spinach and portabello mushrooms tossed with heavy cream and Mexican cheese, and the sweet potatoes dipped in dry curry powder. The end result - a burst of complementary flavors that tastes as familiar as my grandma’s love, but with an exotic twist that dares to venture into unchartered territory.
—Experimental Culinary Pursuits
Make the Marinara Sauce - Sautee garlic in some olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Add Tomato components, olive oil, and mix well. After 10 minutes, add red wine and chopped basil. Set to low heat and simmer for 30-45 min. Set Aside.
Slice Sweet Potatoes into 1/4 inch slices. Marinate in Olive Oil and Curry Powder. Set Aside.
Slice Eggplants into 1/2 inch slices. Marinate in Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper, and Basil. Set Aside.
Sautee Mushrooms in a pan with a little Olive Oil and season well with salt & pepper. Squeeze water out of Chopped Spinach and add Spinach & Jalapeno Peppers to the mushrooms.
Slowly add in the Half & Half to the Spinach-Mushroom mix, until you reach a creamy consistency. Turn off the heat and fold in the 6oz of the Monterey Jack Cheese.
In a 9 X 13 casserole pan, assemble the lasagne in this order: Sweet Potatoes, Spinach-Mushroom Mix, Eggplants, Marinara Sauce, Sweet Potatoes, Spinach Mushroom Mix, Eggplants. Marinara Sauce. Top with remaining 2oz of the Monterey Jack Cheese.
Bake at 350-375 (depending on how fast your oven cooks) for about 40-45 min, until cheese is bubbly.