I adore eggplant. I love it’s versatility, it’s meatiness, the way it soaks up the surrounding flavors. I love that you can even make desserts with eggplant! (Just ask the Sicilians). Parmigiana has been a staple in my household for years. When I was vegetarian, I used to prepare this all the time. And, lucky for me, my sweetie Paolo, makes an amazing parmigiana. Unfortunately, he is in Madrid, so I had to make this myself.
My daughter, also, absolutely adored this. I didn’t tell her what was inside. When she asked what was for dinner and I said Melanzane alla Parmigiana, she just nodded and life was ok for her. Italian food is her passion. I should probably start translating all of my dishes in Italian so she’ll eat them. The best bit was when she tried the first bite and told me it was delicious. Score! Another veggie consumed happily by the picky teen!
Parmigiana can be served as a main meal, or as an appetizer. But I like to eat it as a main, since every bite is amazing. Oh, and this recipe I changed up a bit, to make it a little more heart and calorie friendly. Instead of frying the eggplant, I baked them in the oven. Let me tell you, I think I am going to make it like this all the time. The flavors of the tomato sauce and the eggplant really came out, instead of the heaviness of the oil. But hey, if you ain’t watchin’ your weight, go ahead and fry!
It is a very simple dish to prepare. It has a few steps, but once that is done, you can just sit back and wait until it comes out of the oven. And it’s even better the day after!
So here’s what you’re going to need:
Serves 4 (as a meal) or 8 (appetizer)
2 medium eggplants, sliced and sprinkled with salt, and place in a colander for about 1 hour, then rinsed.
1 tbsp olive oil, more for tray and eggplants.
1/2 onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2 small cans diced tomatoes, if you can, use italian tomatoes. You WILL notice the difference.
2 fresh mozzarella, sliced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 425F (220C). On a large baking tray, place a layer of aluminum, and paint with a layer of olive oil. Place all the eggplant slices on the tray, and then paint them with another layer of oil.
Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until starting to brown. Take out of the oven and lower the heat to 400F (200C).
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium low heat, add the tbsp of olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper and sauté until translucent and softened, about 6-8 minutes. Add the two cans of tomatoes and cook for about 20 minutes.
In a small baking dish, add a scant layer of tomato sauce. Top with the slices of eggplant, then mozzarella, and finally the parmesan cheese.
Repeat, adding, in order, tomato sauce, eggplant, mozzarella and parmesan until you have no more. The last layer should be the mozzarella and parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until the cheese is golden brown and most of the water from the tomatoes has evaporated. Take out of the oven and let rest 15 minutes before serving.
From my kitchen to yours,