In this eggplant parmigiana the garlic and basil tomato sauce layers with the eggplant, Parmigiano and mozzarella and are baked to a delicious crispy top.
I want to first say that I love eggplant. It is usually a vegetable I buy every week because I feel it is so versatile. I remember the first time I tasted an authentic Parmigiana, I was visiting Nicoletta in Rome for the first time, and the first night there she had prepared an Eggplant Parmigiana. The vibrant taste of the tomato sauce combined with a creamy texture of the eggplant and crisp bocconcini on top, I was hooked along with my son who made the trip with me. I wanted to lick the plate, I could not have enough of this beautiful plate. My wife is still the champ when it comes to tomato sauce and this particular dish, but I fair well, I have had a great teacher, and for this I love her. So tonight I present to you Eggplant Parmigiana. Inspired by Nicoletta, my wife.
Tomato sauce is a simple thing when great ingredients are used. Like the San Marzano tomatoes D.O.P., bought at the Italian Centre Shop in Edmonton, our go-to place to find authentic Italian products, and where we also found the fresh mozzarella, Parmigiano, and basil. The beautifully striped eggplant we got it from The Farmer's Market, our go-to place for fresh organic produce.
The San Marzano tomatoes are puréed with a hand-held blender with its own food processor attachment that we bought at the Superstore, a great utensil in our kitchen. Then the tomatoes are cooked in a pan on the stove with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, basil and a pinch of chili pepper, to make a very basic and very flavorful tomato sauce.
- 1 large eggplant
- 3-4 table spoons of olive oil
- 1 cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 large mozzarella
- 1 large tin of San Marzano tomatoes D.O.P.
- 3 leaves of basil
- 1 clove of garlic
- pinch of chili pepper
- salt and pepper
- Eggplant could have a bitterness to them but there is a technique and what we do is peel and cut the eggplant into thin slices length wise. Thickness about 3 millimeters or less. In a caldron lay eggplant slices and salt each layer. When all eggplant is in the caldron then put a plate on top of the eggplant and weight it. Let this sit for couple hours.
- Put san marzano tomatoes into a small food processor and purée.
- In a sauce pan heat extra virgin olive oil on medium to high heat, add garlic clove whole and pinch of chili pepper.
- When oil is infused add the pureed tomatoes and basil leaves, reduce heat to low and let sauce simmer until it becomes thick (about 30 minutes). Take off heat. Set aside.
- Wash, drain eggplant and pat dry with paper towel. Heat up extra virgin olive oil on med to high heat. Place eggplant slices into pan and fry till eggplant becomes a golden brown and the texture is soft.
- Place cooked eggplant on a paper towel to absorb any lingering oil.
- In a 11 inch by 9 inch baking dish spread tomato sauce on the bottom, not too much, just enough so you still see the bottom of the pan in areas.
- Place the eggplant slices into the pan, top with tomato sauce, sprinkle with grated parmigiano reggiano and cubed fresh mozzarella (found at your local Italian store).
- On the next layer place slices contrary to the layer before, this ensures a bit of stability when cutting.
- Continue layering eggplant, tomato sauce, parmigiano, mozzarella until you cannot make another layer.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F (200°C) until top becomes melted, about 25 minutes. If you like the top a bit more crispy, leave in oven a little longer.
- Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Main, Vegetarian
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Italian
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When I am not cooking, I enjoy playing musical instruments, singing, writing. I have learned over the years to live in gratitude and enjoy the moment.