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 dish fires on all the casserole cylinders, combining multiple textural elements - tender vegetables, chewy grains, crunchy croutons, and oozy cheese. It’s both a farewell to some of our favorite summer produce and a hearty welcome to fall. It makes for a great weeknight meal, either on its own as a complete one-dish dinner, or served alongside a steamed green vegetable, such as asparagus, to sneak in another vegetable serving. To save time, the farro can be cooked and refrigerated for up to 3 days in advance. Note that fennel can be tough and fibrous if not well roasted, so check the pieces for doneness before layering them into the casserole. The fennel should be pliant and tender, similar to cooked celery.

Ingredients

uncooked farro

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

kosher salt

2½ tsp, 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 Tbsp, divided

fresh cherry tomato(es)

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

extra virgin olive oil

2½ Tbsp, divided

garlic clove(s)

6 tsp, freshly chopped (2 Tbsp)

red pepper flakes

¾ tsp

grated Pecorino Romano 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

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