Photo of Eggplant, fennel, tomato, farro and fontina casserole by WW

Eggplant, fennel, tomato, farro and fontina casserole

5
5
4
SmartPoints® value per serving
Total Time
2 hr 10 min
Prep
40 min
Cook
1 hr 30 min
Serves
12
Difficulty
Moderate
This casserole combines several textural elements - tender vegetables, chewy grains, crunchy croutons, and oozy cheese. It’s both a farewell to some of our favourite summer produce and a welcome to fall.

Ingredients

Uncooked farro

1 cup(s), quick-cooking variety (or regular if you prefer)

Kosher salt

2½ tsp(s), divided

Italian bread

3 oz, rustic variety, cut into thick slices

Cooking spray

5 spray(s)

Eggplant(s)

2 medium, coarsely chopped (about 2 1/2 lb)

Uncooked fennel bulb(s)

1 item(s), large head, quartered, cored, coarsely chopped (save some fronds for garnish/about 1 1/4 lb)

Fresh thyme

3 tsp(s), divided

Fresh cherry tomato(es)

1½ pound(s), or grape tomatoes (mixed colors recommended)

Olive oil

2½ tbsp(s), divided

Garlic clove(s)

6 tsp(s), freshly chopped

Crushed red pepper flakes

¾ tsp(s)

Grated Pecorino cheese

½ cup(s), divided

Fontina cheese

6 oz, cut into ½-inch cubes, divided

Fresh baby spinach

5 oz

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Cook farro according to package directions using 1 tsp salt; drain (if necessary) and return to pot.
  3. While farro cooks, toast bread in regular oven or toaster oven until deep golden brown, flipping once, 1-2 minutes per side; set aside to cool.
  4. Line an extra large baking sheet with parchment paper; lightly coat with cooking spray (or just coat pan with cooking spray). Place eggplant and fennel on top; lightly coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp thyme and 1 tsp salt; gently toss to coat.
  5. Place tomatoes in a 9- X13-inch casserole dish with 1 ½ Tbsp oil, garlic, remaining 1 Tbsp thyme, red pepper flakes and remaining ½ tsp salt; toss to coat.
  6. Place sheet pan and casserole dish in oven; roast 20 minutes and then stir. Continue roasting until fennel and eggplant are tender and slightly browned, and tomatoes are juicy and tender, about 10-15 minutes more.
  7. Remove tomatoes and their liquid from casserole dish; set aside. Wipe pan clean; coat generously with cooking spray.
  8. Stir half of tomatoes and their juices into farro with ¼ c pecorino and 3 oz fontina.
  9. Place half of eggplant and fennel in bottom of casserole dish; top with half of farro mixture in an even layer. Scatter spinach over farro; top with remaining eggplant and fennel. Spoon remaining farro mixture over top; spoon on remaining tomato mixture.
  10. Tear bread into bite-size pieces and scatter over casserole; drizzle with remaining 1 Tbsp oil and sprinkle with remaining ¼ c pecorino. Scatter remaining 3 oz fontina over top; cover with aluminum foil and bake, 30 minutes. Remove foil; bake until bread gets slightly crisp and casserole is hot throughout, 10 minutes more. Garnish with fennel fronds, if desired, and serve.
  11. Serving size: 1 c

Notes

The farro can be cooked and refrigerated up to 3 days in advance, to make day-of preparation a little easier.