Beef & Eggplant Casserole

Beef and Eggplant Casserole
2 lb ground beef
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced small
1 green pepper, diced small

¼ tsp oregano
3 tbsp oil
1 c tomato sauce
1 tbsp basil, finely chopped
1 large eggplant, or 2 medium, sliced thinly
1 c of mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Combine ground beef with garlic, onions, green pepper, oregano, and salt & pepper; mix together. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a saute pan. Add the ground beef mixture and cook until the beef is cooked through. Add water and tomato sauce. Simmer over medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Season with salt (to taste), and add basil. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Coat the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish with 2 tablespoons oil. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a single layer of sliced eggplant. Top with half of the beef mixture. Top with another layer of eggplant. Add remaining beef mixture atop that layer of eggplant. Place remaining eggplant slices atop beef mixture.

Cover baking pan with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes.

Uncover, sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese, and return to oven until the cheese has turned golden brown, about 8-12 minutes. Remove from oven and allow casserole to cool, up to a half hour. Don’t be hasty! As the casserole cools, the eggplant and beef firm up, allowing you to make neat slices, for serving.