Eggplant Parmesan is a staple of traditional Italian cooking. Originating from Southern Italy, Parmigiana di Melanzane, as it is called in Italian, is a casserole dish that uses fresh eggplants, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Its very few required ingredients make a very rich tasting recipe.
Although typical eggplant parmesan dishes require the eggplant to be fried before layering, this alternative involves baking the eggplant before putting it together. This method makes it a much healthier meal to eat, and just as tasty.
Baked Eggplant Parmesan is a simple casserole dish and an easy way to enjoy authentic Italian food right at home with your family and friends.
Yield: Makes 8 servings.
- 1 3⁄4 cups Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
- 1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 pounds eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 /4 inch slices
- 4 large eggs, beaten with 3 tablespoons water
- 8-12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
- 2 (24 ounce) jars tomato and basil sauce, or make your own homemade tomato and basil sauce (recipe to follow)
■ Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
■ Combine bread crumbs with 1⁄4 cup Parmesan cheese in medium bowl. Dip eggplant in egg mixture, then bread crumb mixture, coating well. Arrange eggplant in single layer on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake 15 minutes or until golden, flip then bake on the other side for another 15 minutes or until golden.
■ Evenly spread 1 cup sauce in 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer 1⁄3 of the baked eggplant, then 1 1⁄2 cups sauce, 1⁄3 of the mozzarella cheese and 1⁄3 of the remaining Parmesan cheese; repeat. Top with remaining eggplant and sauce.
■ Cover with aluminum foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and top with remaining cheeses. Bake uncovered an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Homemade Tomato and Basil Sauce Recipe
Yield: Makes 8 servings.
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water, chicken or vegetable stock
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2-3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves
1-2 tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar (to cut acidity)
■ In a large saucepan heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft.
■ Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for one minute.
■ Add crushed tomatoes, water, tomato paste, basil, parsley, salt, sugar and ground black pepper.
■ Let the sauce come to a boil, lower heat to low and cook 20-25
minutes until sauce has thickened.
Sauce can be refrigerated up to 5 days or frozen 6 months.